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Local Archived News August 2006

 

8/31/06

     Charges filed in connection with death of teen

     United Way campaign goes high tech

     North Lewisburg man killed in tractor accident

8/30/06

     Graphic allegations released

     Fire district wants to buy N.L. municipal building

8/29/06

     Richwood to get new business

     Marysville working out kinks in busing system

     LPGA golfers take on Darby Creek

8/28/06

     Homeless man draws concern

     Program pairs seniors with cats

8/26/06

     Voters face many local issues on November ballot

8/25/06

     Rail crossing upgrade could be in the works

     Lawmen confiscate 124 marijuana plants

     Hospital looks to finance building purchase

     Suicide reported on walking trail

8/24/06

     Fire alarm rings, but it's no drill

8/23/06

     911 consolidation nears

     Groehl earns Eagle Scout award

8/22/06

     Fairbanks board has new member

     Jerome deals with housing issues

     NU renews membership in coalition

     Triad prepares for annual audit

8/21/06

More arrests expected in heroin roundup

8/19/06

     Road work headaches won't stop school buses

     Fire doesn't destroy family's hopes for a bright future

8/18/06

     Accused bus driver tells her side of story

     Marysville to set up Citizen Police Academy

8/17/06

     School construction plan outlined

     Local men arrested in national heroin sting

8/16/06

     'I don't tinker with people's lives'

     North Union, Triad improve scores

8/15/06

     Alleged abuse detailed

     Fairbanks names high school principal

     J.A. officials consider fourth levy try

     Wagon train vacationers will gather in county

8/14/06

     County audited; findings released

     Meeting to focus on new schools

     Group will open Balloon Festival entertainment

8/12/06

     Study supports closing rail crossing

8/11/06

     City plans public meeting on study

8/10/06

     Not guilty verdict reached

     New K-9 officer, Kahn, on duty

8/9/06

     Stabbing trial in hands of jury

     J.A. levy defeated

8/8/06

     Wedding stabbing trial opens

     Record number turn out for fair

     Standing still as the earth moves below you

     Munk retires from Ohio State Patrol

8/7/06

     Health Dept. given $48,000 grant

     J.A. voters to decide on levy Tuesday

8/5/06

     Couple faces 63 counts of child abuse

     Finding the essence of a man

8/4/06

     Dr. Frank Raymond has delivered his last baby

8/3/06

     Man killed  in crash near Honda

     Board works to retain historic uptown charm

     Maple Street bridge closed for repairs

8/2/06

     N.L. utility change prompts concern

     'Fiddler' showcases local talent

     Fire service split still on the table

 8/1/06

     Ride for Kids raises $104,000

     Balloon Festival to be featured on Country Living cover


Charges filed in connection with death of teen
From J-T staff reports:
Two Marysville women face years in prison if convicted of alleged
involvement with the sale of illegal drugs, which led to the overdose
death of a 15-year-old Marysville male.
Court reports show that Wyndi S. McDonald, 36, of 700 S. Plum St., was
indicted Friday on three felony counts associated with selling the
morphine which directly led to the death of Cory Simpson, of Milford Avenue.
According to Assistant Union County Prosecutor Terry Hord, if found
guilty McDonald could face up to 10 years in prison for one first-degree
felony count of involuntary manslaughter, up to eight years in prison
for one second-degree corrupting another with drugs charge and up to
five years in prison for one third-degree felony aggravated trafficking
in drugs charge. If McDonald is found guilty and the charges run
consecutively, she faces up to 23 years in prison.
Court files also show related charges against Hope Gordon-Fisher, 37, of
690 Milford Ave., who was also indicted Friday on one fifth-degree
felony permitting drug abuse charge and one first-degree felony
involuntary manslaughter charge.
She faces more than 11 years in prison, if found guilty and the charges
run consecutively.
According to court papers, on or about Dec. 22, 2004 to Dec. 23, 2004,
McDonald allegedly sold Roxynol generic Morphine to Simpson.
Police have reported that Simpson died as a direct result of using those drugs.
Hord explained that Gordon-Fisher allegedly permitted the juvenile to
take the morphine in her home.
McDonald and Gordon-Fisher are both scheduled to be
arraigned on Sept. 6 at 11 a.m.


United Way campaign goes high tech
Area businesses providing new giving options
 Editor's note: The following story is submitted by the United Way of
Union County
---
As United Way of Union County kicks off its annual campaign this fall,
it does so with a 21st Century flair.  Donors have two new high-tech
options to direct their giving to the local charity.
In cooperation with the Richwood Banking Company, donors can now have
their pledges to United Way transferred automatically from their bank
accounts via a new electronic funds transfer option. They can also give
via United Way's new Online Community Auction, presented by Honda
Marysville. This eBay-like Web site allows businesses and individuals to
make in-kind donations of products, services, collectibles, and more.
Hopeful of raising $750,000 to meet the needs of the people served by
its 24 Member Agencies, United Way is looking to reach beyond its
traditional methods of fundraising to target new donors and additional
dollars. More than 90 percent of United Way's annual donations come via
the traditional workplace campaign; individual payroll deductions and
the subsequent corporate matches. Last year, the organization raised
$713,345, 8 percent short of its $775,000 goal.
"We needed to develop new ways to reach out to those who don't work in
places that conduct United Way campaigns," said Dave Bezusko, campaign
and public relations director for the United Way of Union County. "We're
hoping the new EFT option in our upcoming residential mailing will help
us connect with a new audience, such as commuters who live here but work
out of the county, retirees, and the large number of people who work in
places where payroll deduction giving is not available to them. Now
these folks can easily give to United Way and spread out their
contribution throughout the course of the year too."
United Way is helping the Richwood Banking Company  pioneer a new method
of business banking as one of the first customers to sign up for a new
online product that allows small businesses and non-profit organizations
to collect and remit payments. This product allows the United Way a more
convenient, high tech way of collecting donations. When donors choose
and authorize the automatic payment option on the pledge forms, United
Way can electronically debit their bank account.
"This offers more flexibility to both the United Way and the donor that
writing a check cannot," said Shari Watkins, of RPMS, a subsidiary of
Richwood Banking Company. "The process is simple; once the proper
authorization is obtained, United Way can enter the customer's bank
account information, name and donation amount. On a specified date the
donation is electronically processed and sent to the United Way. The
donations can be a one-time payment or recurring at the customers'
request. This saves time, cuts down on stacks of checks to process,
trips to the bank, and helps protect against identity theft."
United Way's new Online Auction is modeled after a similar event
conducted in Zanesville by the United Way in that community. Bezusko
says that over the course of a few weeks, they obtained about 100 items,
had more than 30,000 hits on their Web site, and raised more than $12,000.
"The auction is an outlet created to cater toward our community's small
businesses to help put the spotlight on them, their products, and their
services," Bezusko said. "It's a great way to showcase your business and
help United Way at the same time."
 Items donated will be auctioned during 10 days of online bidding Oct.
20 to 30. The auction site is already live to accept donations and
preview the catalog and is linked directly off United Way's Web site at
www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org. Sponsorship provided by Honda Marysville
is covering expenses incurred to set up the event, meaning that 100
percent of the proceeds from items donated and sold online will be used
to support United Way's programs and services in Union County.
"It's a fun way to give because you're getting something that you want
in return for your gift," Bezusko said. "There are a lot of great items
already up in our online catalog. There are big ticket items like a big
screen TV, a 2006 Metropolitan Scooter, a vacation package, and credit
on a lot purchase for a new home. There are small trinkets,
collectibles, and memorabilia. It's a great place to find some bargains
and to do some early Christmas shopping. We'll have something for everyone."
United Way's new high tech giving options have also been made possible
by recent upgrades in its in-house operations.  A committee of
volunteers, including Bob Schwyn, Technology Leadership Partners; Jason
Comstock, Clarity Technology Solutions; Craig Ruhl, Richwood Banking
Company; Steve Merriman, Liberty TechSystems; and Georgia Tobin,
eMarysville.com. met over the course of several months to help United
Way assess its technology needs and developed a plan to economically
improve its capacity. A donation of three new computers by
Hewlett-Packard highlighted the changes.
More information about the United Way of Union County may be obtained by
visiting www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org or by calling 644-8381.

North Lewisburg man killed in tractor accident
From J-T staff reports:
A North Lewisburg man was killed in a tractor accident Wednesday at 11:30 p.m..
Reports on the death of Dwight Thompson, 58, are incomplete at this time.
North Lewisburg Fire Department Chief Dave Spain said  initial reports
are that Thompson was riding a farm utility tractor when it somehow
rolled over on top of him. He was found 100 yards behind his residence
at 519 Mill Street.
 He refused to release additional information without checking with the
county prosecutor regarding HIPPA guidelines.
Spain said Thompson was MedFlighted to a Dayton-area hospital where he
was later pronounced dead.
"It's under investigation right now," Spain said, regarding how the
tractor rolled onto Thompson. "I'm not sure how it did."

Graphic allegations released

Beatings with  hammers, being placed in clothes dryer listed among
reports of child abuse

Editor's note: The Journal-Tribune cautions readers that some details in
the following story are graphic. The newspaper feels that the severity
of the allegations warrants inclusion.

By RYAN HORNS
Graphic details on what prosecutors have called "torture" and "excessive
abuse" were revealed this morning in a case against a former Marysville couple.
The Bill of Particulars was released from the Union County Common Pleas
Court regarding the case against Springfield residents James E.
Ferguson, 46, and his wife Vonda Ferguson, 43.
The files include a list of beatings and acts the two allegedly
committed toward their five adopted children, three males and two
females. Reports allege the juveniles were starved, struck with hammers,
shoved inside clothing dryers which were then turned on, were burned on
hot stoves and suffered broken limbs from violent beatings with sticks.
The abuse included in the files goes on for 16 pages, listing crimes
that allegedly spanned a four-year period between July 24, 2000 through
Nov. 19, 2004.
The crimes allegedly occurred between any of three homes in Union and
Clark counties, namely 1126 N. Fountain Blvd. in Clark County, 23237
Holycross-Epps Road in Union County and also 1505 Patricia Drive in Marysville.
The Fergusons now face more than 60 charges associated with
second-degree endangering children, third-degree permitting child abuse,
second degree felonious assault, including a separate first-degree
felony rape charge against Vonda Ferguson.
Child endangering counts 1 through 4 show the alleged abuse of an
adopted girl, who was between 10 and 14-years-old at the time.
The Bill of Particulars states that the Fergusons allegedly struck the
girl's fingers with a hammer "which caused her fingernails to bleed and
fall off; she was beaten with sticks and belts, the handle of a toilet
plunger was stuck down her throat; she was beaten with a white belt on
her back, legs and (bottom) until her leg was bleeding; she was slammed
onto the floor resulting in a chipped tooth; she had a drawer shut on
her finger which resulted in a broken finger, she was intentionally
burned with a curling iron; she was stripped naked, duct taped to a
table and beaten with a paddle and belt until her (bottom) was bleeding,
hot sauce was rubbed on her (genitals); she was put into a clothes dryer
and the dryer was turned on as punishment; (all of the victims were told
that if they told anyone they would be killed)."
Court reports go on to allege that the daughter "was forced to eat a
younger victim's excrement from a soiled diaper which she was able to
hide under her tongue and spit out later; (all children were made to
line up and be whipped at the same time, making each child rotate from
the front of the line to the back, receiving 6-7 hits with the belt
before moving, duration was approximately 15 minutes); food was withheld
from all victims for sometimes two days at which time the victims would
eat cat food."
The files also show the children were at times duct taped to their beds
and were threatened with a knife by Vonda Ferguson, who allegedly told
them "if they didn't do as they were told she would cut their throat
open or their stomach."
Other charges describe abuse allegedly committed toward the couple's
adoptive son, who was also between 10 and 14-years-old at the time.
Among abuse listed, the male was reportedly held over a banister and
dropped, was burned with a clothing iron on the palm of his hand and was
hit in the head with a stick.
"Vonda slammed his head into a cabinet causing heavy bleeding; his toes
were hit with a hammer causing infection; he was kicked in the chest by
James who was wearing steel toed boots; was bent over an electric stove
and his chest was burned. if he wet the bed he was made to wear the
urine soaked underwear on his head all day. Vonda whipped the victim
with a belt for not cleaning his room, during the beating the victim
sustained a large bleeding cut on his stomach which is now scarred."
The court papers show that the boy ran away from home at one point and
when he finally returned, he was made to strip naked and was beaten.
Additional child endangering counts explain abuse toward their third
adoptive male child, who was between 8 and 12-years-old at the time.
Court files state that "Vonda pulled her panties down, sat on his chest
and urinated on him."
There were several other allegations of equally inhumane treatment too
graphic to list here.
The alleged torture was the same for the boy as with the other two
children. He also reportedly was choked until he vomited, was struck in
the mouth with a metal hammer chipping his teeth, locked in a dog cage
outside in the cold for an hour, was shown pornographic movies, was
pushed and thrown down stairs, forced to drink hot sauce with red hot
peppers, forced into a clothes dryer which was then turned on, made to
take freezing cold showers, soap was sprayed into his eyes, duct taped
to a chair for up to two days, and his head was held under water.
Further counts of second-degree felony child endangering charges from
the same time period, involve the Fergusons' fourth adoptive child,
another male, between 6 and 10-years-old at the time.
The boy was made to sit in a chair for up to three weeks, only being
allowed out to eat and go to bed, was beaten until he suffered a broken
leg. Among similar abuse, the boy was allegedly force fed spoiled and
rotten food which reportedly made him and the other children sick.
A fifth adoptive daughter, who was between 4 and 8-years-old at the
time, was allegedly similarly beaten and starved. The girl was allegedly
scarred with a stick and curling iron by Vonda Ferguson, and kicked in
the stomach and hit with a toilet plunger by James Ferguson.
Remaining counts refer to third-degree permitting child abuse,
specifying each of the five adoptive children. Counts 26-30 charge James
Ferguson with second-degree felonious assault for bodily harm, threats
of death, sexual abuse and "extreme psychological trauma" against the
five adoptive children.
A female neighbor to the Fergusons' home on Holycross Epps Road told the
Journal-Tribune on Tuesday that evidence of child abuse was never
apparent. The woman, who did not provide her name, said none of the
neighbors ever heard sounds of abuse coming from the home.
"Not to my knowledge," she said. "The children were never there."
The woman said the five children were at the Fergusons' home in the
beginning, but were soon taken away. Neighbors on Patricia Drive did not
wish to comment.
Court papers show that Vonda Ferguson currently does not have an
attorney. Reports show that attorney Gregory Lind was initially
representing both Fergusons. Because of a possible conflict of interest,
Mrs. Ferguson filed to seek different representation. Her new attorney
has not been named.

Fire district wants to buy N.L. municipal building
By CORINNE BIX
The Northeast Champaign County Fire District is seeking to purchase the
North Lewisburg Municipal Building at fair market value.
If the village chooses to sell the municipal building to the NECCFD the
proposed site for the new municipal building will be across from the
Dairy Bar on East Street. The NECCFD serves the villages of North
Lewisburg and Woodstock, Rush Township and Wayne Township.
Currently operating out of the North Lewisburg Municipal Building, the
fire district pays rent on 5,286 square feet of space. The village
council voted in April to more than double the annual rent from $6,000
to $12,500 retroactive to Jan. 1, when the last contract expired.
Council also voted to gradually increase the annual rent to $25,000 by
2008 which averages out to $5 per square foot of space used. The village
found this rate to be in line with standard rental rates of business properties.
"By 2010 the NECCFD will be in deficit spending if things don't change,"
Chief Dave Spain referring to the agreed upon rent increase.
Spain said options for the fire district include levying for more money,
cutting services, putting off buying new equipment or increased run volume.
However with the ever-growing population, space is critical. In order to
balance services, the need for increased space and the budget, change is
imminent, Spain said.
Mayor Dick Willis, North Lewisburg, and village adminstrator Barry First
have agreed to take the fire district's proposal to the village council next week.
"We hope to provide members of fire board and the people we represent,
the taxpayers and constituents, with a fact sheet supporting the needs
of the fire district," First said.
First, Spain and Cheryl Hollingsworth were appointed to a fact-finding
committee at Monday's meeting. Hollingsworth has worked with the NECCFD
to calculate budget projections for the fire district. The fact-finding
committee will work on getting the necessary information in regard to a
building appraisal and to research what is in the best interest of all involved.
"There is a conclusion near in regard to a resolution based on the
proposal made by Chief Spain on behalf of the fire board, " First said,
"The Mayor and I remain very optimistic."
Spain and First said that it will take several months for the committee
to present findings to the fire board and the village council.
Spain said the committee would be focused on finding out what it is
going to take so that both entities can reasonably make the location
shift in terms of their individual budget restraints.

Richwood to get new business
Will be second resident of industrial park

By CHAD WILLIAMSON
The Village of Richwood appears close to securing its second occupant at
its Industrial Park.
Union County Economic Development Director Eric Phillips was at Monday's
village council meeting to give details about plans for a 48,000 square
foot manufacturing/office facility which would like to locate in the park.
The owners of the facility would be Linda and Jerry Wolf, who also own
MAI Manufacturing which opened the first facility in the park, a 50,000
square foot operation with more than 50 employees.
Construction is expected to begin near the end of the year.
The 3.299 acre building site is on the west side of the industrial park.
The land in the park is owned by the village, however, ownership of the
building site will be transferred to the Union County Community
Improvement Corporation to facilitate the sale.
The land will be sold for $8,500 per acre, bringing $27,500 to the
village. The building itself will be a $1 million investment and when at
full occupancy, the facility could bring in $7,500 annually in income tax.
The company has asked for no tax abatements on the project.
Phillips said the company plans to divide the building into four, 12,000
square foot operations. Only two of the sections of the building
currently have occupants, a antique car refurbishing operation and a
heavy equipment repair business, both controlled by the building owner.
Phillips said two other occupants are being sought.
He noted that both the North Union Schools and Richwood Area Business
Association have thrown support behind the sale. He said when full, the
facility could bring 30 jobs to the area, but initially only 15 are
projected in the two portions of the building which will be occupied.
Phillips said the facility has plans for two large truck doors but those
doors will not face the nearby Kells Lane housing development. There
will be garage doors facing the houses but they will be small and suited for deliveries.
Council member Scott Jerew asked if the residents of Kells Lane had been
notified of the pending purchase and construction. Previous site
preparation and construction at the industrial park drew complaints from
Kells Lane residents over dust and noise.
An earth mound with trees on top was eventually constructed as a buffer
but residents maintained that a better barrier was needed.
Phillips said the residents had not been informed of the plans but that he could do so.
Council approved the transfer of the land to the Community Improvement
Corporation, leaving six to eight acres in the park still available.
In other business, council:
.Heard first reading on its new traffic codes concerning parking.
.Learned that 1,500 feet of the Ottawa Street sewer improvement
project is completed.
.Discussed a 4 mill levy which will expire next year. It was decided to
attempt to renew the levy, rather than replace it with a levy that would
generate more money.
.Decided to pursue the full $1,300 penalty against a payroll company
which did not distribute enough income tax money to the village.
.Learned that the village will have a light installed for the North
Union Veterans Monument at the Richwood Park. The village will also
handle the $25 per month electric bill for the light.
.Learned that tree identification signs, completed as part of an Eagle
Scout project, are being pulled from the ground and burned by some
patrons of the park. Park Committee Chairman George Showalter said if
additional markers are destroyed, night fishing at Richwood Lake will no
longer be allowed. "There comes a time when the good have to suffer with
the bad," Showalter said.
.Discussed the possibility of constructing a skate park at the Richwood Park.
.Learned that Mayor Bill Nibert would be installing village
administrator Larry Baxa as the village zoning inspector.

Marysville working out kinks in busing system
By KARLYN BYERS
While Marysville's new school bus routes are not perfect, superintendent
Larry Zimmerman said Monday night, they are doing the job for which they
were intended.
"I think it was the right thing to do," Zimmerman said during the
board's regular monthly meeting. "Do we still have some routes that are
longer then we wanted? Yes, we do. But we'll shorten them."
Zimmerman conducted an overview of the district's new transportation
routes, listing the reasons why they were needed, their implementation
and the "tweaking" which needs to be done.
"Transportation is one of the hardest areas to 'get right' the first
week of school," Zimmerman said in a communication to the
Journal-Tribune this morning.
He said talks with other school districts, especially those which are
growing, indicate they all have the same issues.
"As a public school we are expected to provide the service, but it is so
hard to predict because we don't know until the first day of school all
the 'who is getting picked up and where will they be' issues. It is
frustrating, but we have made great strides and intend to do even
better. The issues that have surfaced are minor issues that can be and
will be resolved," he wrote.
Monday night, Raymond parents Connie Hildreth and Becky Palombo spoke,
expressing concerns about the amount of time children spent on the
school bus, among other things.
"My daughter has to ride a bus for 45 minutes and I can see (Raymond)
school from my house," Hildreth said.
Zimmerman assured Hildreth he would look into the matter.
The board later authorized the purchase of three, 84-passenger school
buses from Cardinal Bus Sales, Lima, under the Metropolitan Educational
Council 2005-2006 school bus competitive bid and purchase program.
The measure was passed as an "urgent necessity" because the buses are
needed immediately; one has already been delivered, according to Zimmerman.
"We knew we were going to purchase buses in December," he said, adding
that previous plans were to buy one 84-passenger and two 72-passenger
buses. But when the opportunity opened up to purchase larger buses
before they had to conform to the costly 2007 emissions standards, the
purchase was escalated.
The purchase price was $73,600 each.
The board also accepted the competitive bid price of $2,633,000 for site
work at the new middle school and intermediate school to be built on Route 4.
The winning bid was submitted by Performance Site Management of Columbus.
"We'll be moving dirt in the next couple weeks," said Construction
Manager Emily Wieringa of Thomas & Marker.
Work priority will be erosion control measures, she said, with
construction of the retention pond and the building pad following.
"It's exciting. It's a nice, big site," she said.
In other business, the board:
.Approved a list of district credit card users, including Donna Ball,
Trent Bowers, Yvonne Boyd, Greg Casto, Matt Chrispin, William Cooper,
Dolores Cramer, MaryAnne Dimitry, Robert Fraker, Alicia Goodman, Melissa
Hackett, Neal Handler, Greg Hanson, Tim Kannally, Kathy McKinniss, James
Moots III, Richard Rowland, Janet Shonebarger, Joseph Smith, Carla
Steele, Gregg Stubbs, Colene Thomas, Jeffrey Wargo, Mike White, Shawn
Williams and Zimmerman. The measure was suggested by the state auditor's office.
.Heard the district is closing its digital academy alternative schooling
program and Zimmerman and district treasurer/CFO Dolores Cramer will
handle any administrative duties associated with its closure. Cramer's
contract was amended to reflect additional responsibilities.
.Added the salary category of administrative assistant for
transportation to the classified salary schedule.
.Authorized a PTO fundraiser at Raymond Elementary to begin Sept. 5.
.Adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel issues. No action was taken.

LPGA golfers take on Darby Creek
From J-T staff reports:
The LPGA came to Union County today.
It wasn't the entire field from the Ladies Professional Golf Association
but three members who played a profitable Skins Game.
Julie Inkster, Kelly Robbins and Ai Miyazato began the contest - which
carried prize money of $1,000 a hole - at approximately 8:30 a.m. at
Darby Creek Golf Course.
Darby Creek landed the Skins Game, according to pro shop manager Bob
Davis, through the efforts of a Japanese television network.
"They called us a week ago and we thought it was a joke (that they
wanted to schedule a Skins Game at Darby)," said Davis. "They then
followed through on it with us."
Scott Hanhart, general manager at Darby Creek, agreed.
"We got the call from a Japanese production company that's based in Los
Angeles," he said. "They're featuring Ai Miyazato, who is somewhat of a
phenom in Japan. Supposedly, she's more popular over there than Tiger Woods."
The company has featured the LPGA rookie in several shows, shot in
places such as Hawaii and Las Vegas.
Today's Darby Creek visit was the second of two Ohio playing dates. On
Monday, a similiar competition was held at Heritage Golf Club in Hilliard.
"I guess Ai had seen our Website and was interested in Darby Creek,"
said Hanhart. "She came out here Friday and liked what she saw."
The Skins Game came just two days after the conclusion of the Wendy's
Classic for Children at nearby Tartan Fields Golf Club in Dublin.
Miyazato placed fourth there, shooting a 271 and earning $56,647.
Robbins did not make the cut and Inkster did not play in the event.

Homeless man draws concern

Is a registered sex offender
By RYAN HORNS
On a downtown Marysville park bench a homeless man has taken up
residence and nearby store owners are upset, because not only is the man
homeless, he is also a registered sex offender.
Kevin Dewitt, 42, has been living on the bench for the past week. He
served 19 years in prison for a sexual crime he was convicted of in
1987. After he was released from prison in 2005, like any other sexual
offender, he now has to check in with the county sheriff's office
whenever he moves into a new town. This will continue for the next 10 years.
But if law enforcement thought it was difficult dealing with a
registered sex offender, dealing with a homeless registered sexual
offender is something on a whole different level.
"It's been very challenging," Union County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy
Tom Morgan said.
Located across from Dewitt's park bench is the Lambert Jewelry Store,
whose owners have expressed that they are not happy with their new neighbor.
"It's a public place," owner Keith Lambert said. "But there are kids all around."
Lambert said there are laws set up to keep sexual offenders from living
next to schools, but the bench is right next to a teenage driving
instruction school, near a children's dancing school and a children's
book store. To make matters worse, it is also right next to a bar.
Lambert said he hates to be callous regarding a homeless person, but he
has no sympathy in this case.
Sitting on a bench near the Copy Source store on Thursday afternoon,
Dewitt explained that life has been difficult since his release from
prison. He had been in jail since he was 23-years-old.
"When I was incarcerated I was still living with my parents," he said.
Originally from Springfield, Dewitt and his mother moved to Marysville
in 1977. It was 10 years later that he was convicted of raping a
5-year-old juvenile boy. Ever since his release, it has been hard to
find his way back to being a normal citizen. Part of the problem has to
do with his weight (in excess of 500 pounds) and health issues
associated with his weight. He also expressed disappointment with a
system that does not move as fast as he needs it to. He must wait
another month before he can earn Social Security disability. With that
money, he can afford to take care of his health problems.
Dewitt said he picked the park bench downtown because it was easiest for
him to sit at. He learned earlier that day that he may have to move
again because no one realized that a nearby church had a school inside.
Sexual offenders are not allowed to live within 1,000 feet of any school
associated with the local Board of Education.
"I don't know what I'm going to do, now that I have to move out of the
area," Dewitt said.
Spain said Dewitt's probation expires in three weeks. Where he will go
after that is unknown.
"He has pretty much exhausted all of his options," she said.
Spain said the Union County Department of Human Services couldn't help
Dewitt and no shelters want him either because of his criminal record.
Because he is a registered sexual offender, his options are limited. He
has been kicked out of every other place he has tried to live. The
sheriff's office even tried to place Dewitt in a Raymond area campground
to live, but the owners kicked him out when they learned of his criminal record.
Michael Witzky, executive director of the Union County Mental Health and
Recovery Board, said his agency is aware of Dewitt's situation but can
not help. His agency can assist only individuals with mental health or
alcohol and drug addiction problems. He said Dewitt has none of these problems.
Lee Sampson is the Regional Administrator for the Ohio Adult Parole
Authority, based out of Mansfield. Sampson said in the past 23 months
Dewitt has been out of jail, they have put him in a halfway house in
Mansfield, an independent housing facility in Lorain, even numerous
hotels. He was forced to leave every single one.
"None of these places are intended to be used as a permanent housing
situation," he said.
Marysville Police Chief Floyd Golden said he knows all about Dewitt, but
there are no laws against vagrancy or loitering in Marysville.
"I understand that it bothers people," Golden said.
He said local law enforcement is keeping watch on Dewitt and always
knows where he is throughout the day.
"There are a lot of eyes on him," Sampson said.
Golden explained that the problem is that if a sexual offender lives in
a house on a street, then people can drive by and see the house. There
is no face to associate it to.
"But when they are in a public place like that, they see the face and
they see an example of the crime," Golden said.
"I know people are upset. I can understand," Spain said. "But there is
no where for him to go. He has been kicked out of everywhere he goes.
We're trying to deal with it the best we can."
She said part of that process means keeping the sexual offender Web-site
accurate and up-to-date.
"If he says he's going to be living on a park bench," she said, "then we
have to put that on there."
In the past, homeless sexual offenders were listed under the same
address as the Sheriff's Office. But Spain said over time they decided
it was better to keep the public informed of their exact whereabouts.
If there is something Dewitt wants Marysville residents to know: He can
understand why they are upset.
"I have burned a lot of bridges in my life," he said, taking time to
think about his choice in words. "But don't judge me again. I'm trying
to change my lifestyle."
Dewitt said he went through therapy while in prison and had 19 years to
think about the crime he committed. Even recently he is receiving
therapy from a Plain City pastor, who has been helping him deal with
life outside of prison.
"(Therapy) has changed my life for the better," he said.
But even as Dewitt talks from his park bench, local police drive by
keeping an eye out and car loads of teenagers loudly make fun of his weight.
"We're trying to get him a better situation," Sampson said.

Program pairs seniors with cats
From J-T staff reports:
The Union County Humane Society is launching a new program connecting
seniors with feline friends.
"We are eager to add the Kitty Connection to the array of innovative
programs at UCHS," said Rachel Finney, UCHS executive director. "The
Kitty Connection creates a feasible solution to finding homes for cats
and creating lasting relationships."
The Kitty Connection volunteers ease anxieties of cat adoption by
offering seniors with a variety of easy solutions.
Seniors will be provided with:
. A spayed or neutered cat, fully vaccinated with all adoption fees waived.
. Transportation for the cat to and from all veterinarian appointments
at the shelter.
. Annual vaccinations offered at the reduced price of $10.
. Weekly or monthly contact with a volunteer to provide answers and assistance.
. Guaranteed placement for the cat if the participant can no longer care for it.
In return, UCHS asks participants agree to:
. Provide food, water, shelter and a clean litter box for the cat.
. Keep the cat indoors at all times.
. Maintain contact with their volunteer match.
. Report any illness or injury the cat experiences in their care.
. Relinquish the cat to the UCHS if they are no longer able to provide care.
UCHS is fulfilling its mission of connecting people with animals and
enriching lives through The Kitty Connection by:
. Enriching the lives of cats and seniors of the community.
. Providing an innovative program for seniors.
. Expanding the opportunity of companionship for cats and the participants.
. Aiding participants in caring for a cat.
UCHS is accepting applications from seniors who have room in their homes
and hearts for a new feline friend. Those interested in becoming a
participant in The Kitty Connection can direct any questions to Finney
at 642-0487. UCHS is also looking for volunteers willing to assist the
seniors. Those interested may contact Kym Jarvis at 642-6716.
After piloting The Kitty Connection with seniors the UCHS is also open
to expanding the program to people with disabilities.
"Adding a cat to your home lives truly changes lives. Research has shown
that pet owners are generally healthier, less stressed or depressed, and
more likely to recover from serious illness or accidents," Jarvis said.

Voters face many local issues on November ballot

By CINDY BRAKE
Numerous issues will be before voters in the November election. Thursday
was the filing deadline with the Union County Board of Elections.
Issues to be on the Nov. 7 ballot in Union County include:
. Countywide - 0.5-mill replacement and 0.25-mill increase for operating
the 911 system. The five-year levy would generate $866,000 annually and
cost $22.98 per $100,000 valuation. The old cost was $14.18 and
generated $536,000 annually.
. A new, continuing 4-mill fire levy for the North Union County Joint
Fire and EMS District would generate $256,400 annually and cost $122.50
for every $100,000 valuation of property. Precincts in this district
include part of York, Claibourne including Richwood, and Jackson
townships. The levy would maintain existing service and expand service
to include 16 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as replace
equipment and apparatus.
. An additional 2.2-mill, five-year tax in Jerome Township would
generate $339,000 annually and cost $67.38 per $100,000 valuation. The
tax would pay for police protection.
. An additional 3.3-mill, five-year tax in Millcreek Township would
generate $113,000 and cost $101.06 per $100,000 valuation. The tax would
pay for police protection.
. Union Township is seeking to replace a 1-mill, five-year levy for
current operating expenses. The levy will continue to generate $30,200.
The cost for $100,000 valuation will increase by 4 cents from $30.58 to $30.62.
. Unionville Center is seeking to replace a 2.95 mill, five-year levy
for current operating expenses. It would generate $6,100 annually. The
previous levy generated $4,000 annually and cost $56.90 for every
$100,000 valuation of property. The replacement levy will cost $90.34
for every $100,000 valuation.
. Marysville residents will be asked to approve an amendment to the city charter.
. Local liquor option for Jerome Precinct 4 - The petitioner is seeking
the retail sale of beer, wine and mixed beverages and spirituous liquor
for consumption Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to midnight on Sunday
at 7155 Corazon Drive, Dublin, a full-service restaurant and club house.
. Local liquor option for York Township - The petitioner is seeking the
retail sale of beer, wine, mixed beverages and spirituous liquor Monday
through Saturday, 10 a.m. through midnight on Sunday at El Picacho
Mexican American Restaurant, 28000 Route 31, Richwood, a
family-oriented, full-service restaurant.
. Local liquor option for Sunday sale in Marysville Precinct 12 - The
petitioner is seeking Sunday sales of liquor at Applebee's Neighborhood
Grill & Bar, 1099 Delaware Ave.
. Local liquor option for Sunday sale in Marysville Precinct 2 - The
petitioner is seeking the retail sale of liquor at Doc Henderson's
Restaurant, 318 E. Fifth St.
. Local liquor option for Sunday sale in Leesburg Township - The
petitioner is seeking the retail sale of liquor at The Pit Stop, 23255 Route 4.
Local candidates running uncontested are incumbents Union County
Commissioner Gary Lee and Union County Auditor Mary Snider.

Rail crossing upgrade could be in the works
Grant money may provide a solution to the issue
By RYAN HORNS
A recent conference call between Marysville officials and railroad
authorities could mean good news for critics of the East Fifth Street
railroad crossing closure.
At the request of Marysville City Council, city law director Tim Aslaner
took on the crossing issue and was able to make some headway.
During Mayor Tom Kruse's report to council Thursday night, Kruse said
Aslaner set up a conference telephone call between himself, councilmen
Dan Fogt, David Burke, Aslaner, and a representative of the Ohio Rail
Development Authority. The point of the call was to address the legality
of the city closing the crossing.
Aslaner said the results of that call could lead to federal grant money
to help upgrade the crossing and open up the roadway to traffic. If all
goes as hoped, work on the crossing could begin within a year. He said
after city council asked him to look into the legal issues of the city
closing the crossing, he wanted to avoid being the one "making the
decision if the crossing should be opened or closed."
So he contacted PUCO and learned that statewide, the entity has the only
authority on closing and opening railroad crossings.
Aslaner said he also learned that PUCO is a part of the Ohio Rail
Commission, which in turn is under the umbrella of the Ohio Department
of Transportation. By pursuing this information, he discovered that
there is federal grant money the city can apply for in order to fix the
East Fifth Street railroad crossing; namely, to install proper warning
lights and crossing arms, which Kruse has requested. The cost for that
project would be from $180,000 to $200,000.
From this conference call, Aslaner said that getting the grant money to
pursue the project "appears very good. We're working towards opening up
that crossing with it substantially improved."
He said the city would be able to apply and pursue the money without
having to open up the crossing. In the interim, he said Ohio Rail
Authority representative Susan Kirkland recommended keeping the crossing
closed because of current traffic issues.
Aslaner said Kirkland "understands the immediacy of the situation" and
will "get back with us in a couple of weeks" on the result of the city's
grant application.
He said the city could receive certain percentages of funding from the
grant. The exact amount is unknown until the application comes back. If
the city is granted the federal aid, then a meeting would be set up
between city, council and railroad authorities in order to decide what
exactly needs to be improved on the crossing, as well as the costs involved.
"So that's where we are," Aslaner said. "Hopefully we will know in a few
weeks if we're going to get any grant money."
Council President John Gore thanked Aslaner for his efforts.
"You did an outstanding job of picking up the ball and running with it,"
he said. "You came through for the city and the residents."
Gore also made it clear that although he and the mayor may disagree on
whether to open the closed roadway, he also is "not intent to open it
when it's not safe."
He added that when the City Gate development comes in traffic will be
worse and "we won't be able to get through town at all." He hopes to
discuss more with the rail authorities and learn all the options for the
East Fifth Street crossing.
"I think it's a lot of very good progress," Fogt said.
Kruse said whatever comes out of the talks with the rail authorities,
the city still has issues with traffic congestion moving east and west.
He said the recent traffic study performed by DLZ engineers concluded
that, as time goes on, the problems would only get worse. It stems from
retail developments growing within the city.
"It goes along with big box stores," Kruse said. "Clearly this town
wants the big box stores."
To prepare for those, he said he is going to recommend the city go into
the next phase and proceed with a second study "to determine alternative
routes east and west through this town." He will soon come to council
with a resolution to request that study.
Kruse said when the study results come back he proposes presenting any
options to the public and inviting them to meetings so they can offer
their input and help make a decision on which option to choose.
"I hope council will be amenable to approve the money," Kruse said.
Kentucky Fried Chicken owner Bob Whitter asked what the city will do if
PUCO comes back with a decision that the crossing doesn't need an upgrade.
Gore said the hope is that the grant money will be made available.
Whitter also hopes that the city will ask the opinions and input of rail
authorities regarding the crossing.
Gore agreed that the plan is to "work closely with the experts."
In other discussions:
. Marysville Planning Commission members have begun dealing with zoning
standards affecting "Old Marysville."
Planning Commission chairman John Cunningham said that older homes in
the community were built before current zoning laws were enacted.
Because of this, recent homeowners have expressed problems trying to
upgrade, especially in regards to property setbacks.
He said the issue will be an "ongoing discussion" with the commission,
in the hopes to find a remedy.
. Councilman Mark Reams raised discussion on the city finishing the
development of parks, which have already been started.
. Gahanna resident Sharon Montgomery spoke to council, asking if members
would consider passing a resolution to support Senate Bill 317.
Montgomery said she was the victim of a car accident which took the life
of her husband. A person talking on a cell phone caused the crash. She
hopes that someday lawmakers will begin to address the seriousness of
people driving when distracted by cell phones. The man who killed her
husband only received a misdemeanor citation for failure to leave
assured clear distance ahead. Upcoming laws may help make the crime a felony.
Gore said he shares her concerns and that he was almost hit recently by
a man driving while talking on a cell phone. He promised to review the
resolution and come back to council.

Lawmen confiscate 124 marijuana plants
From J-T staff reports:
Detectives from the Union County Sheriff's Office and agents with the
Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification & Investigation reported this
morning that they located earlier this week a total of 124 marijuana
plants growing in areas around Union County.
Sheriff Rocky Nelson said every year agents and deputies fly over
counties throughout Ohio looking for marijuana. This program is known as
"Eradication."
"We've flown Union County about every year looking for individuals
growing marijuana, either on their own property or using area farmers'
open fields to grow their crop," Nelson said.
The street value of the marijuana which was found on Tuesday totals
approximately $124,000.
Nelson said he encourages citizens, especially local farmers, to be
observant of activity in or around their fields. Residents having
knowledge or suspicion of marijuana cultivation activity are urged to
call the Sheriff's Office Crime Tip-Hot Line 642-7653.

Hospital looks to finance building purchase
By CORINNE BIX
Memorial Hospital of Union County is taking the next step in the process
to purchase 388 Damascus Road and 660 London Avenue from Memorial
Physicians Inc. (MPI.)
On Thursday night, the board passed a resolution to be presented to the
county commissioners specific to using bond financing when moving
forward with the purchase as advised by the hospital's legal counsel.
The county commissioners, county prosecutor and the hospital board of
trustees have all previously approved the purchase of the MPI properties
for $3.675 million.
Thursday night's resolution would allow the hospital to refinance other
debt while taking advantage of lower interest rates.
The board also passed a resolution to be presented to the YMCA of Union
County in regard to a 20-year lease agreement signed in March of 2003.
The hospital currently leases 10,000 square feet of space, along with
the therapy pool, at the YMCA's Charles Lane location. Per the original
agreement the hospital pays $6,500 per month for 20 years along with
annual shell payments of $30,000.
The approved resolution would present the YMCA with a new agreement,
which would eliminate the annual shell payment by allowing the hospital
to pay one lump sum at the net present value of $234,000.
The resolution will be presented to the YMCA board within the next month.
Chip Hubbs, CEO/President, said that this might be of interest to the
YMCA because it would provide them with ready cash to pay down debt.
Under the original agreement, the YMCA would receive a total of $480,000
in shell payments over the last 16 years of the lease contract.
The board was asked to complete surveys in regard to the four-day
conference planned from Jan. 21 to 25. It is expected that anywhere from
40 to 45 board members, administrative staff and medical staff will be in attendance.
The conference will be in Scottsdale, Ariz., and cost for the hospital
attendees will be budgeted for in the 2007 fiscal year. Approximate cost
per person is estimated at $5,000.
The next board of trustees meeting will be Sept. 28 at 8 p.m.
In other news, the board:
.Approved a proposal by Chris Schmenk, board member, to study the
possibility of becoming a smoke-free campus. The hospital currently
allows smoking in designated areas outside of the hospital buildings.
.Updated on first quarter data from Press Ganey in regard to patient
satisfaction surveys.
.Updated a meeting with Dave Blom, CEO for Ohio Health, in regard to
concerns with aggressive recruiting (ie. cold calling) of Memorial
practitioners for the new Dublin Methodist Hospital. Hubbs said Blom
agreed that only passive competition between the two entities would be tolerated.
.Approved committee reports for quality review and finance
.Approved the following medical staff in lieu of a joint conference
committee quorum: Department of Surgery, Anesthesiology - Mark Stanley,
DO, Samuel Agubosim, MD, Iwona Biewalska, MD, and Eric Candler, MD;
.Approved Urgent Care privileges for the following on-staff
practitioners staff in lieu of a joint conference committee quorum -
Steven Draeger, MD, Balpreet Jammu, MD, Peter Hoy, DO, and Mathew
Everett, MD-ERCC (FM);
.Approved completed practitioners application for the following staff in
lieu of a joint conference committee quorum - Department of Medicine,
Family Medicine - Ahmed Jakda, MD and Michael Miller, MD; Department of
Medicine, Allied Health Professional - Maureen Koba, PA-C (to work in
ER) and Stephanie Young, PA-C (to work in ER);
.Approved the following revisions to the credentials manual:
Qualifications - 2.1 and Education 2.3-1 Revisions;
.Approved medical staff/allied health professionals policy for peer
review process revisions;
.Approved core curriculum and delineation of privilege list in regard to
certification requirements;
.Updated the Ohio Attorney General proposed rules on charitable transparency;
.Was informed of the $50,000 donation towards a CT scanner from the Richwood Bank;
.Received information on the upcoming United Way fundraising.

Suicide reported on walking trail
From J-T staff reports:
A Marysville man who was reported missing by his wife on Wednesday was
found dead in a Millcreek Park field by a passerby Thursday evening. The
man was found a short distance from  Simmons Trail.
According to Marysville Police officials, preliminary investigations
indicate that Charles Bedoian, 49, of 785 Milcrest Drive, died of a
self-inflicted gunshot wound. The case remains under investigation by
police and the Union County Coroner. An autopsy will be conducted at the
Licking County Coroner's Office.

Fire alarm rings, but it's no drilll

Odor of smoke forces evacuation of East Elementary,  but classes resume
From J-T staff reports:
When the fire alarm rang this morning at East Elementary School, it
wasn't the typical beginning of the year drill.
A latch-key staff member reported smelling smoke in the back hall of the
school located at the corner of Sixth and Chestnut, said principal Missy
Hacket. School staff called for assistance at 9:42 a.m. and fire engines
were enroute within two minutes. The hallway houses second graders.
Marysville Fire Chief Gary Johnson said a prevention officer was on the
scene within two minutes and his engines arrived within three minutes of
receiving the call. Students returned to the building within the hour.
"Everybody is safe. It could have been anything," Johnson said.
Johnson said the complaint is under investigation. Also responding to
the alarm were engine companies from Allen, Jerome and Union townships,
as well as the Marysville medic, chief and ladder, Johnson said.
Students waited patiently on the sidewalks with their teachers and were
well prepared for the alarm after a fire drill Wednesday.
Marysville Schools Assistant Superintendent Neal Handler said everybody
was safe and children were enjoying the weather.

911 consolidation nears

By RYAN HORNS
Union County and Marysville law enforcement officials have just about
wrapped up a unifying 911 emergency package for residents.
Both entities officially announced Monday that the consolidation of
Union County 911 operations will be completed by Sept. 6. For residents
inside the county, the move is expected to enhance communication in
emergency situations. The result also means residents will see a future
levy to help cover the costs.
Union County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Tom Morgan said the county
will need the help of residents to follow through with the program. The
Union County 911 levy is up for renewal this fall and the 911 Technical
Advisory Committee (TAC) reported that funding two Public Safety
Answering Points (PSAP) was not going to be possible with rising
personnel and maintenance costs.
"Wise use of tax dollars was an important theme that I wanted the TAC
committee to remember as they looked into the best way to provide 911
service in Union County," Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson said. "Union
County voters will see a 0.75 mill levy in November to cover 911 and
Public Safety Communication needs in the County."
"Our major concern was that the city residents do not experience any
delay in our response," Marysville Police Chief Floyd Golden said.
Morgan explained that the 911 consolidation was one of the
recommendations adopted in the Amended 911 Final Plan for Union County,
which had not been updated since 1987.
Since July of 2005, he said, the sheriff's office has been dispatching
for the Marysville Fire Department, primarily through the Multi-Agency
Radio Communications System (MARCS).
Morgan explained that the introduction of Wireless 911 service
availability in Ohio prompted the Union County Commissioners to start a
911 Planning Committee, consisting of Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse, Jerome
Township Trustee Ron Rhodes and County Commissioner Gary Lee. The
committee then appointed the TAC, with members representing law
enforcement, fire, emergency management and emergency medical services
throughout Union County. The TAC studied the wireless issue, in addition
to voice-over Internet protocol (VOIP), and gave a look at how the
entire county 911 system had been working.
Morgan said that since 1987 there have been two PSAPs in Union County,
one at the Marysville Police Department and one at the Union County
Sheriff's Office. With the two facilities only blocks apart, the TAC
felt that one tornado or other disaster could disable both locations.
They ultimately recommended consolidating the two into one answering
point and purchasing the necessary equipment that would allow an
emergency 9/11 center to be set up in any area of Union County.
"There is a tremendous advantage to this approach," Lee said. "If the
city were to be affected by a natural or man-made disaster, we could
take the 911 center to the Richwood area or Jerome Township and be
operational again in a matter of hours."
Morgan said Union County will be backed up on regular basis by the Logan
County PSAP, which is housed at the Logan County Sheriff's Office. Logan
County was chosen as the immediate 911 back up because both sheriff's
office's are serviced by Sprint which is now Embarq.
He said that after the consolidation the sheriff's office will be
handling all 911 calls that originate from within the city of
Marysville. Previously, the sheriff's office only handled wireless 911
calls that came from the county. The sheriff's office will be adding an
additional 911 line to accommodate the increase in emergency calls. The
Marysville Police Department will continue to dispatch emergency and
non-emergency calls received through their dispatch center.
Morgan said when a 911 call from the city comes to the sheriff's office
it will immediately be dispatched over the Marysville police radio
frequency. The sheriff's office will then obtain all pertinent
information from the caller and forward that information to city police dispatchers.
The second phase of the program solves the issue of residents who use
their cell phones to call for emergency help. Through GPS tracking,
county dispatchers can locate callers and immediately pinpoint them on a
map. It also solves the issue of prank callers dialing 911 with cell phones.
Sheriff's office 911 Coordinator Anne Barr said that she uses her cell
phone all the time and with the new consolidation dialing for help will
be available no matter where she is in the county.

Groehl earns Eagle Scout award
From J-T staff reports:
Nathan Groehl, 15, the son of Troy and Cheryl Groehl of Marysville, has
earned the highest rank in scouting, Eagle Scout. Fewer than 3 percent
of all Boy Scouts achieve the Eagle rank.
A member of Troop 355 which meets weekly at First Presbyterian Church,
Nathan has been involved in scouts since first grade. While working his
way up through the scouting ranks, Nathan earned his brotherhood in the
Order of the Arrow (O.A.). He achieved his Boy Scouts of America
lifeguard certification and earned 32 merit badges. His high adventures
included sailing in the Florida Keys and backpacking in New
Mexico with his troop.
Nathan's Eagle project consisted of constructing bluebird houses and
posting tree identification signs in Allen Township Park.
He has served as senior patrol leader, assistant senior patrol leader,
scribe, historian, librarian and O.A. representative.
Nathan is a long-standing member of Trinity Lutheran Church. He is a
sophomore at Marysville High School where he participates in show choir,
cross country, swim team, track and youth group.
He plans to continue to his involvement in Boy Scouts and to mentor
other scouts working toward their Eagle rank.

Fairbanks board has new member

By KARLYN BYERS
Milford Center-area resident Mark Lippencott became the newest member of
the Fairbanks Board of Education Monday night. He was given the oath of
office by district treasurer Aaron Johnson.
Lippencott, a lifelong resident of the school district, graduated from
Fairbanks High School in 1970 and from the Ohio State University in
1974. He holds a degree in journalism.
He is the father of two children who attended the district's schools and
has been actively involved in school sports.
Lippencott attends Milford Center United Methodist Church, was a
six-year member of the United Way of Union County Board, where he also
served as president, and is a member of the Union Township Zoning
Commission and the Union County Fair Livestock Committee.
He is one of nine applicants who aspired to fill the board position
created when Sherry Shoots resigned in July. Lippencott is the third
board member who is a Honda of America employee; Kevin Green and David
Huber also work for Honda.
Fairbanks Superintendent Jim Craycraft said Lippencott is on the board
"for all the right reasons."
"He's interested in doing all he can for the school district," Craycraft
said this morning.
The board also approved an athletic contract to Barry Keith, varsity
baseball coach, ending suspense over who would guide the Panthers'
baseball team next spring.
Community members have been attending board meetings since June, voicing
their support of the man who has coached the team for the past seven years.
Assistant coach and high school intervention specialist Richard Rausch
had expressed an interest in Keith's job, and residents were concerned
because Ohio Revised Code 3313.53 says that if a licensed faculty member
in a school system desires a coaching position, he or she has the first
opportunity as long as he or she has a background in the sport.
Craycraft, though, said last month that the board had a policy in place
that would allow it to choose who it thought was best qualified for the
position. All it had to do was "follow the process," Craycraft said.
In other business, the board:
.Amended a suspension previously given to six high school students after
an incident which took place on a high school trip to Spain this summer.
The students involved will now serve a five-day in-school suspension
instead of an out-of-school suspension.
.Approved an agreement for professional services with TMP Architecture,
LLC and Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc. to serve as architect and
construction manager respectively for construction of the district's new
elementary school and renovations to the existing middle and high school building.
.Approved athletic contracts for the 2006-2007 year to Allison Gorton,
eighth grade volleyball coach; Krista Fogle, seventh grade volleyball
coach; Steve Conley, assistant boys golf coach; Dan Stillings, assistant
girls golf coach; Rob Riddle, boys varsity assistant basketball coach;
Tyronne Hammond, reserve boys basketball coach; Scott Coon, seventh
grade boys basketball coach; Conley, eighth grade boys basketball coach;
and David Walker, volunteer girls soccer coach;
.Approved classified contracts for Connie Nicol, substitute cook and
substitute educational aide; Kelly Hall, substitute secretary and
substitute educational aide; Jennifer Picklesimer, substitute
educational aide; Teri Dunlap, substitute educational aide; Linda
Lemaster, substitute cook; Becky Bennett, substitute educational aide
and substitute cook; Brandi Vollrath, substitute secretary and
substitute cook; Greg Dellinger, substitute custodian; Lester Robinson,
substitute custodian; Tracy Rausch, substitute secretary, cook and
educational aide; Marla Arnold, AESOP manager; Martha Shepherd,
elementary cashier, one-year contract; Karen Benedict, special education
aide, one-year contract; Mark A. Nicol, Steve Garrabrant, Nelson "Skip"
Mills, Larry Nicol, Rhonda Fairchild and Mark Mehl, substitute bus drivers.
.Approved Michelle Scholl, coordinator, at $12 an hour, and Janice Hovis
and Janet Bardin, team leaders at $10 an hour as Panther Paws staff for
the 2006-2007 school year.
.Approved rates for the 2006-2007 Panther Paws program - Kinder Paws
program, $12 a  day; after school Paws rate for part-time pupil (two
days or fewer per week), $8 a day for first child, $7, second child; $5,
additional children; after school Paws rate for full-time pupil (three
days or more each week), first child, $35 per week, second child, $30
per week, and additional children, $20 per week. A non-refundable
registration fee is required for each child enrolled.
.Approved supplemental contracts for the 2006-2007 year for Debbie
Hegenderfer, district lead mentor; Jennifer Cook and Nancy Dunn,
district entry year teacher mentors; Joe Newell, team leader for fifth
grade; Brenda Ward, team leader for sixth grade; Matt Humphrey, team
leader for seventh grade, middle school ski club advisor; Beth Morse,
team leader for eighth grade, Power of the Pen advisor for eighth grade,
middle school Student council advisor; Sarah Scott, Power of the Pen
advisor for seventh grade; Lisa Studenmund, IAT coordinator; Marian
Eberhard, Pat Lucas, Joe Newell, and  Kristi Payne, IAT team members;
Jenny Harral, national junior honor society advisor; Chip Fillman,
middle school yearbook advisor, outdoor education advisor; and John
Moore, middle school Washington, D.C. advisor.
.Accepted all substitute teachers who are approved by the Delaware/Union
Educational Service Center for the 2006-2007 school year.
.Transferred $12,500 from the general fund to the athletic fund.
.Approved the 2006 financial reports as presented by Johnson.
.Approved the 2006-2007 fiscal year beginning appropriations
by fund as presented.
.Approved the Wellness Policy.
.Conducted the first reading for a cell phone policy.
.Entered into executive session. No action was taken.

Jerome deals with housing issues
By CINDY BRAKE
"I'm back," said developer Paul Phillips to the Jerome Township Board of
Trustees Monday during a public hearing held prior to the regular meeting.
Phillips had previously asked the three-member board to vacate its June
19 approval of Cambrian Development so he could amend the plat to
include a roundabout.
Trustees Ron Rhodes, Bob Merkle and Andrew Thomas unanimously approved
the amended petition. The petition rezones 76.4 acres at 10045 Brock
Road and 9346 Industrial Parkway, Plain City, as a planned unit
development. Proposed density is 1.75 units per acre and is entirely
residential with 13.12 acres of open space for parks, playground and
other open space uses.
Former trustee Freeman May credited the developer for doing everything
that had been asked of him. May, however, said he believed the amended
petition should have returned to the zoning board.
Trustees also opened a second public hearing to consider a detailed
development plan for The Reserve at Sugar Run, to be located at the
northwest corner of Taylor Road and Industrial Parkway. The Reserve will
include 167 acres with 250 single family homes and approximately 100
condominium units. At the request of the project manager, the trustees
tabled for 30 days the hearing. The hearing has been rescheduled for
Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
A third public hearing considered revising a zoning resolution
concerning accessory buildings in undeveloped and residential districts.
The board accepted the recommended changes.
During the regular meeting, the board again voiced concern about a
pseudo-governmental group calling itself the U.S. 33 Corridor Executive
Committee or The Accord. The group is scheduled to meet tonight. Board
members said they believe the township is being singled out by the group
that includes county officials as well a representatives from Dublin,
Marysville and other townships.
The trustees also stated that they believe proper protocol has not been
followed. In a previous township meeting, trustee Rhodes said the
proposed Accord seeks to direct land use along the U.S. 33 corridor. The
majority of the land is in Jerome Township.
"We should not have to answer to the Accord," said trustee Merkle. He
agreed to contact LUC executive director Jenny Snapp who is overseeing
The Accord meetings.
Key concerns center on Dublin not giving up any undeveloped ground and
an imbalance of votes among governmental entities, as well as the
appointed LUC director having voting privileges.
The trustees voted unanimously to join the Union County Chamber of
Commerce and to review waste hauling bids.
The board also voted unanimously to rescind a resolution that prohibits
engine braking. Sheriff Rocky Nelson explained that the prosecutor has
advised that this resolution is unenforceable. The trustees agreed to
study the matter and return with an enforceable resolution.
Nelson also asked the board for names to create focus groups for the
upcoming police protection levy.
Freeman May addressed the board about two concerns, one about the zoning
officer and the other about the cost of a newsletter.
Numerous transfers were approved within the road and bridge, gas,
capital improvement and unappropriated funds.

NU renews membership in coalition
By CHAD WILLIAMSON
One month after voting to non-renew membership in the Ohio Coalition for
Equity and Adequacy in Education, the North Union Board of Education
changed its mind.
At July's meeting some board members noted that the coalition, which was
responsible for filing a lawsuit which led to changes in school funding
including the program which has spurred construction in the North Union
District, had served its purpose. Two of the four members in attendance
voted no on the renewal, meaning the measure did not pass.
At Monday night's board meeting, Bill Phillis, executive director of the
coalition, was on hand to explain to the board what his group does.
Phillis noted that since the coalition won its lawsuit in 1996, the
state has put $6 billion into school facilities.
"The litigation has been good for the state and it's been good for this
district," he said.
He noted that the coalition is currently working toward getting a
constitutional amendment on the ballot which would eliminate the
instability in the school funding system by moving it away from the
property value based system. Phillis said the amendment should be put
before voters in 2007.
The board went on to vote 4-1 to renew membership in the coalition.
The district is also working toward creating a system where some middle
school courses would be applicable for high school credit. In order to
do so the course must have the same curriculum as the high school course
and be taught by a highly qualified teacher.
New superintendent Richard Smith Jr. said the algebra class at the
middle school would currently qualify as such a class. Late in the year
the student would have the option of choosing if the course counts
toward his or her high school grade point average.
In other business, the board:
.Learned that the North Union Hall of Pride ceremony will be Friday night.
.Accepted a $1,000 donation from Carol and Craig Young for a young
music/performing arts scholarship fund.
.Awarded a high school diploma to Marcus Klaiber of the class of 2006.
.Approved a list of 11 students who wish to attend North Union through
open enrollment.
.Accepted the resignation of Paula Webb as a cafeteria worker/cashier at
the middle school.
.Approved Rebecca German on a one-year non-certified contract as a
cafeteria worker at the high school.
.Approved several lists of certified and non-certified employees.

Triad prepares for annual audit
By CORRINE BIX
The Triad Board of Education approved a resolution on Monday night to
accept the lowest and most responsible bidder by an independent public
accountant (IPA), Julian and Grube, Inc. for the district's
state-mandated annual audit.
This is a change from years' past where the district's audit was
conducted by the state auditor's office. The suggestion to go with an
independent firm came from district treasurer Maureen Scott, hired last November.
Scott worked for 19 years in the state auditor's office before coming to
Triad. She explained that she had an opportunity when working for the
state to audit, Julian and Grube's work which she described as
technically sound. Julian and Grube has worked with countless schools
statewide and has conducted annual audits for Big Walnut Local Schools
and the Madison/Champaign County Education Service Center. The district
should find out within the next month if state auditor Betty Montgomery
authorizes the use of the IPA.
Scott said it's more cost effective to petition the state and go with an
IPA. The district anticipates saving $7,000 per year with the IPA.
"I am very confident that this is a good firm to go with," Scott said.
Superintendent Dan Kaffenbarger said Monday's district-wide meeting with
teachers and staff went well.
"We are starting out on a very positive note," Kaffenbarger said,
referring to the district's state report card. The district was given an
effective rating, up from the year before when they were given a
continuous improvement. The district has improved their performance
index score by 14.2 points over the past three years. Kaffenbarger said
the state average is 19 points in seven years.
"We are not going to rest until we are an excellent district," he said,
"We hope to capitalize on the positive feelings with our staff because
they are the reason why we've come so far."
Kaffenbarger also updated the board on the District Improvement Team
(DIT) formed last school year. The 24-member group, which was formally
known as the Superintendent's Advisory Committee, includes teachers,
parents, board members, and administration. The group's mission
statement is "successful learning today, productive living tomorrow."
The group has focused on formulating a district-wide plan that would
promote overall improvement and unit the goals of the three buildings.
This year the group will review and update progress by building.
The next board meeting will be Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. in the elementary library.
In other news, the board:
. Recognized Jennifer Reminder, intervention and behavioral specialist,
for receiving the statewide Franklin B. Walter Outstanding Educator Award.
. Recognized Traci Boystel and Kristin Ross as gold medal winners at the
National FCCLA competition.
. Accepted with regret, the resignation for the purpose of retirement of
secretary Patricia Ferryman effective Sept. 1.
. Approved the employment of Amanda Alexander as EMIS
Coordinator/Account Secretary.
. Approved the employment of Patrick Johnson as 1/7 social studies teacher.
. Accepted the resignation of Roxie Nauman as middle school yearbook advisor.
. Approved the following supplemental positions: Ross Cordell, football
volunteer at the middle school; Tony Pelfry and Robin Stoner, soccer
volunteers; Lori Moore, volleyball seventh grade; Shannon Rodgers,
volleyball eighth grade.
. Approved grant funded positions: Crystall Burgel, SBR training
coordinator; Meredith Ford, extended day coordinator and tutor; Jane
Runyan, intervention coordinator; Deb Alltop and Mary Benge, extended day tutors.
. Approved permanent appropriations and estimated resources resolution.
. Approved policies 5112, 5409, 5410, and 5464 related to whole grade
and subject area acceleration as required by the ORC 3324.10.
. Approved lunchroom prices.
. Approved the agreement for vision and impaired services through Logan
County ESC.
. Approved the staff elementary handbook.
. Approved a student insurance program administered by N. Carol
Insurance Agency, Inc. underwritten by Guarantee Trust Life Insurance Co.
. Approved the student activity purpose and practice statements for all
student activities except elementary yearbook. Elementary yearbook
statement is projected to be approved at the September board meeting.
. Approved the $40,000 Literacy Improvement Grant ($20,000 early
literacy and $20,000 adolescent literacy).
. Approved the donation of a deep fryer from the high school to the Triad Boosters.
. Approved the donation of pictures with an estimated value of $20 from
Kyle Huffman to the Triad Local Schools.
. Authorized the treasurer to make modifications to the certificate of
estimated resources.

More arrests expected in heroin roundup

From J-T staff reports:
More Union County arrests are expected to come out of a Drug Enforcement
Administration investigation into a Mexican black tar heroin ring found
in central Ohio.
However, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Anthony Marotta said this
morning that he cannot release any names just yet.
"We anticipate that there will be a future wave of additional
indictments in the investigation," Marotta said.
Regarding a time-line for any indictments, he said he could only specify
it may or may not happen in the next couple of months.
Marotta said those previously arrested in the roundup of indictments for
suspects associated with the heroin ring are going through the courts.
On Tuesday Union County Sheriff's Office investigators, working on
behalf of DEA investigators, arrested a Marysville man and said another
Union County person was to follow. That person has yet to be identified
by any agency.
Marotta said more indictments are expected to follow in the central Ohio area.

Road work headaches won't stop school buses

By KARLYN BYERS
Road closures and detours are as inevitable in Central Ohio's summertime
as flies and humidity.
But when they drag into the start of school, those same closures and
detours make school officials nervous.
Bus drivers and parents in the Fairbanks School System have to cope with
the closure of the bridge spanning Big Darby Creek in Milford Center, a
closure that will likely last several more weeks.
Superintendent Jim Craycraft said only one bus route has had to be
changed to accommodate the closure. The rerouting, which he called
"minor," will take the bus onto Orchard Road and increase the route by
about three miles. That means pupils may be picked up a little earlier
and arrive home a little later than previously, he said.
But that is not the biggest problem, Craycraft said.
Routing detour traffic onto Route 38 has significantly increased vehicle
and truck traffic in front of Fairbanks Middle and High schools and has
caused a "very dangerous" situation, Craycraft said.
He is advising motorists to "drive slower and pay attention" and is
talking to Darby Township trustees about additional signage and
guardrails along the "S" curves just south of the schools.
Fairbanks has 13 buses covering 132 square miles per day. Its first day
of school is Wednesday.
Marysville's fleet consists of 31 bus drivers and 32 routes. The
district covers 148.8 square miles transporting about 3,000 pupils. Its
first day of school is Monday, Aug. 21.
"As we look ahead to Monday and back to school, one (big) potential
problem we foresee is that many parents and students may not yet be
aware of several road projects that could cause delays" said Tony
Eufinger, Marysville Exempted Village Schools communications consultant,
in a press release to the Journal-Tribune Thursday.
 Road work on Maple Street, Route 4 and Route 31 - three of the major
roadways leading to the entrances of Marysville Middle and High schools
? will likely cause delays beyond what drivers might normally expect,
Marysville Schools Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said in that press release.
Zimmerman is asking families of middle school and high school students
heading back to school to allow extra time for the ride to school and to
be prepared for likely traffic delays.
Creekview Intermediate families are being asked to allow extra time as
they proceed north on Route 31 from Marysville. Navin Elementary
families will be impacted by the road work on Route 4 so those parents
also should  allow extra time.
Jonathan Alder School District residents will be impacted by the project
at U.S. 42 and Price Hilliard Road, where Ohio Department of
Transportation workers will be straightening out the curve.
Transportation to and from Canaan Middle School will be the most
impacted, said Randy Wilson, JA assistant transportation supervisor.
"I've been told it will be a couple more months before that (project) is
completed," he said.
Wilson added that construction of a turn lane at the new high school on
U.S. 42 is scheduled to begin the week of Aug. 20, but is not expected
to impede back-to-school traffic.
Jonathan Alder School District has 21 regular bus drivers running dual
routes - fifth through 12th-graders on the first run and kindergarten
through fourth-graders on the second run. Its first day of school is Aug. 29.
Claude Tidd, transportation supervisor at North Union Local Schools,
said construction projects have more or less been "continuous" all
summer in that school district.
"They've pretty much been ongoing," he said. "Everybody's got their job
to do and we have to get around it."
Tidd said bus drivers do a good job spotting road closure signs and
passing the word along, and he gets a fairly good flow of information
via e-mail from the township, county and state governments.
North Union's first day of school will be Sept. 6. Its 160 square miles
are covered by 13 bus routes; 12 double runs and one single run.
Carol Combs, transportation coordinator at Triad Local Schools, said she
was "thankful" bus drivers didn't have to cope with multiple
construction problems this year.
"This is the first time we haven't had something going on that we didn't
have to detour around," she said.
Triad does transport some preschoolers into Urbana, where there are some
streets torn up, Combs added.
Triad will have 12 buses on the road driving high school and middle
school pupils on one run and elementary pupils on the second run. Its
first day of school will be Thursday, Aug. 24.
Trinity Lutheran School also will begin Monday; St. John's and St.
Paul's Lutheran schools will begin Tuesday.
----
Zimmerman said Marysville High School students also should remember that
the new bell schedule will have them starting school 15 minutes earlier
this year at 7:25 a.m.
The new Creekview Intermediate schedule begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at
3:25 p.m. Creekview students will ride on buses with elementary students
for the first time this year.
All Marysville elementary schools will continue to start class at 9
a.m., but end their day 15 minutes later at 3:45. The Middle School
schedule remains unchanged at 7:33 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The schedule changes have helped even out the number of student
passengers on Marysville's school buses, reported Thursday's press
release. Last year, Marysville Schools transported more than 800 more
kids on the high school/middle school/intermediate routes than on the
later elementary routes.
The new routes not only give students extra time in school, but will
also save the Marysville School District money by offsetting the need to
purchase several additional buses.

Fire doesn't destroy family's hopes for a bright future
By CINDY BRAKE
Lisa and Larry Preece have nothing, absolutely nothing, after a fire
destroyed their home Wednesday. Yet, they still believe their future is
bright and are grateful for all who have come to their rescue.
"A new beginning" is how Mrs. Preece describes their current
circumstances. "I thank God my family is safe."
"We're making the best of a bad situation," said Mr. Preece. "We've got
each other."
Their home, built in 1892 and owned by his parents, was  destroyed by an
electrical fire Wednesday afternoon. They had lived in the home for 10
years and remodeled the interior, including replacing the home's wiring.
Mr. Preece said the old farm house's exterior appearance did not reflect
the structure's true condition.
With no insurance, they have lost 18 years of their lives including a
treasured puppy and family antiques. Miraculously, birth certificates
and their marriage license managed to survive. The documents were tucked
inside their son's baby book in an antique wooden china cabinet. The
only other object to make it through the fire is son Nicholas's first
gun. All their money was also in the house.
Mrs. Preece said she was enjoying a cool breeze on the porch with their
miniature Doberman named Trooper Wednesday afternoon. While talking on
the telephone to her husband, she heard a crackling sound after being
outside for 30 minutes. When she looked inside, she saw the living room
engulfed in flames and lots of  smoke. Unfortunately, Trooper jumped and
ran into the house. Mr. Preece and his 16-year-old son found the pet
among the burned debris in the kitchen area.
The house has now been leveled and the Preeces are making plans.
"I'm coming back," Mr. Preece said.
They hope to move a modular home they own in Kentucky to the property
that has been in their family for nearly 30 years. Friends have offered to help.
But for now, the family is living in a local hotel and grateful for
vouchers to buy food, clothing and medication. They say Red Cross
disaster services volunteer Renee Hatfield of Marysville is an angel.
The Union County Chapter of the American Red Cross provides disaster
services, as well as military and blood services and health and safety
training. Volunteers, blood donors and financial donations are always welcome.
Anyone wishing to help the Preece family can contact the local Red Cross
chapter at 642-6651.

Accused bus driver tells her side of story
By CINDY BRAKE
Sharon Kissling wants to tell her story.
Since submitting her resignation as a bus driver, she says that she must
now sell her new home, will have no insurance and no income because of
three upset parents using their children to gain an advantage over the
Marysville School administration through her.
"I have no more money to fight. No more money for my attorney," Kissling
wrote in a three-page letter to the Marysville Journal-Tribune.
Kissling's name first made the news when the Marysville Board of
Education fielded complaints from three mothers - Sharon Putney of
Raymond, Debbie Gilbert of Raymond and Jackie Schertzer of West
Mansfield. Each said her daughter was traumatized or injured while
riding a school bus driven by Kissling. Putney contacted the Marysville
Division of Police Aug. 14 about the May 3 incident and it is under investigation.
"I am faced with the false accusations of three upset parents," Kissling wrote.
Kissling, a bus driver for 23 years, was suspended 10 days because she
"applied brakes in an improper manner and for an improper purpose to
discipline students," states a June 14 letter from superintendent Larry
Zimmerman to Kissling. She was also expected to perform an in-service on
student management techniques this summer and be reassigned this fall to
a new route.
"It is my expectation that you will return to work in the fall prepared
to safely operate the vehicle and not utilize yelling and/or unsafe
driving techniques in order to maintain control of students who are
riding on the bus," Zimmerman wrote.
Kissling of West Mansfield, submitted a termination of employment letter
on Aug. 1. The board has yet to act on the request.
"It is with heartfelt sadness that I send this letter to serve as my
three-week notice to resign my position as bus driver for the Marysville
School System. With all that has been allowed to happen to me through
your school district, I do not feel I can continue to work in this
environment. I am also attaching my statement refuting the decisions
made by the board ... ," Kissling writes.
After driving school bus for 15 years with the North Union School
District, Kissling then began driving for the Marysville School
District. The only evaluation in her file, dated 2001, states that she
was "very cooperative, flexible and interested" in her job ... greeted
students in a friendly manner, made sure aisles were clear and had
excellent attendance. A 2005 letter from the transportation director
states that Kissling has "been a very faithful bus driver for Marysville
Schools and we want that relationship to continue in the future."
Every year Kissling received raises and her hours were increased twice.
She was reprimanded twice - one for leaving her keys in the bus and
another time for improperly applying her brakes. The past two years she
drove the Raymond route on bus 24. The route included 48 middle through
high school students.
She states that the past school year was peppered with various problems
involving the three children and their parents. Kissling believes she is
being falsely accused because of the previous problems.
"I feel that I was doing my job. All parents, educators and any persons
involved with the well-being of children should consider it teamwork.
Otherwise, we shall fail miserably," Kissling writes.
Kissling said the latest complaint by the mothers occurred when the
children were standing prior to her coming to a stop.
"I asked them to sit down and they did not. I knew that I was stopping
soon and needed them to sit before they would be hurt when I came to a
stop. I lightly touched my brakes to let them know I was slowing down
and then re-applied to come to a complete stop," Kissling writes.
"I reminded the children of the rules of the bus and that they must
remain seated at all times. Unbeknownst to me, Amanda told her mother
that I had slammed my brakes and she fell into the aisle and down the
stairs of the bus. This is a false accusation and can be completely
disproved by the video running at all times on my bus."
Assistant superintendent Neal Handler said, on the advice of legal
counsel, video and audio tapes cannot be released. He stated that the
video is "inconclusive" about whether a child fell. He adds that no
medical bills were paid by the district for the three children.
Kissling, who has viewed the video, said it shows "absolutely nothing on
the day of the alleged incident. No movement of bodies other than
ordinary activity. Had I really 'slammed' my brakes would you not have
seen heads coming forward ... You will not see it, not on any portion of
that tape! Because it is not true!"
Kissling said she has been told that one of the children is now bragging
about how she got the 'mean bus driver' fired.
"I wonder if any of the parents of these girls have tried to find out if
they are lying or are they lying because their parents are telling them
to do so?" Kissling said. "Have they made their children understand
exactly what their actions will cause? What are these children learning
from this?"

Marysville to set up Citizen Police Academy
From J-T staff reports:
Ever wanted to join the police as they make an arrest or chase a
speeding driver? Perhaps have a look into investigation techniques?
It is this natural interest people have for police work that has spawned
the Marysville Citizen Police Academy.
Marysville Assistant Police Chief Glenn Nicol said the hope is to use
the new program to find another way to work with the public, opening up
the communication lines and giving residents a chance to get to know the
officers in their community.
For people who always ask what police do all day, Nicol said, this will
be their education into all facets of the job.
He pointed out that the academy is not intended to make citizens into
police officers, nor is it a branch of neighborhood watch training. He
said a good summation of the academy is "an intense tour of the police
department here in the city."
Included in the course are reviews in police division overview, local
criminal justice system, patrol procedures, CSI Marysville, response to
resistance and self-defense, drug investigations, tactical operations,
domestic violence (VOCA), firearms demonstrations, civilian ride along,
and a final review on graduation day.
Nicol said each topic will offer different speakers or trained officers
to address the areas in which they are trained.
Citizens that participate will learn more about the community and
general functions of the police. The division hopes to utilize the
program in an effort to promote a community policing concept and
genuinely be "partners with the community."
There is no cost, according to an information sheet on the Citizen
Police Academy, and the classes are held at the Marysville Police
Department. All participants receive a free shirt.
The program will be held Mondays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. starting Sept. 11
and will run for 10 consecutive weeks.
According to an informational pamphlet, if a person lives or works in
Marysville and is at least 21 years old, they may fill out an
application for the course.
To receive an application, stop by the police department office or
download it online from the police department link on the city Web site
at www.marysvilleohio.org.

School construction plan outlined

By KARLYN BYERS
Marysville Exempted Village Schools is about to embark on two major
construction projects. The first, construction of a combined middle and
intermediate schools, is scheduled to begin in September or October. The
second, a major renovation of the high school, will begin in the spring.
It was the former, however, that Marysville Schools Superintendent Larry
Zimmerman wanted to discuss with the public Wednesday in a special
community meeting held at the high school.
Zimmerman, Andrew Maletz of Steed/Hammond/Paul architectural firm and
Steven Korte of Kleingers & Associates engineering and surveying,
fielded questions and explained the various facets of the
170,000-square-foot school building that will be constructed on land
formerly owned by the Bunsold family.
Construction on the project will begin in "March-ish," according to
Zimmerman, and is scheduled for completion in August 2008. Site work
will be completed this fall, so the ground can settle over the winter
and go through the freeze and thaw cycle.
By combining intermediate and middle school populations into one
building, the school district can save money. Although the two age
groups will be separated into separate wings, one kitchen will service
the entire building, as will one heating/cooling system. The media
center and 500-seat auditorium also will be shared.
Zimmerman said when school begins Monday, 5,500 pupils will enter the
Marysville School System. He anticipates a student population of 6,000
in two years, and expects that in roughly 10 years the new
intermediate/middle school will reach capacity.
When that happens, the new building will convert to a middle school
building and a second intermediate school will be constructed on the
same site, a location that at 162 acres is actually large enough to
handle a second high school.
The former Bunsold property is currently located in Paris Township, and
the school is in the process of applying for annexation to the city of
Marysville, Zimmerman said.
"The city has told me up front that in order to get water and sewer we
must annex," he said.
Zimmerman added that he wanted city utilities because he didn't want to
deal with the added cost of drilling a well and constructing an on-site
sewer system.
The school will be situated at Route 4 and U.S. 36. All entrances and
exits will begin and end on Route 4, and turn lanes will be constructed
to facilitate traffic flow. There will be no traffic light, Zimmerman
said several times.
The Ohio Department of Transportation has to approve the installation of
any traffic device, and it has expressed reluctance to install a traffic
signal there.
The school site drains into the Big Darby Watershed. Because of that,
additional measures will have to be implemented to avoid run-off. A
two-acre retention pond and drainage system will be installed, Zimmerman
and Maletz said, and water flow controlled to prevent soil erosion.
The roughly 120,000 cubic yards of dirt that will be removed to create
the pond will be used to build up the building pad, Korte added.
Although there will be no outdoor recesses, physical education classes
and sports activities will be scheduled outside. But because residences
will be about three-fourths of a mile away and numerous trees will
remain, noise should not be a problem, Zimmerman said.
Lighting also will be taken into consideration. All outdoor fixtures
will direct light downward, so there will be no horizontal spillover and
no light pollution.
School officials will have to ask for a variance on signage because
Paris Township zoning limits outdoor signs to one per property and the
school district will need two - one denoting the intermediate school and
a second pointing out the middle school, Zimmerman said.
About 50 people attended the meeting, including school board members
Bill Hayes, Jeff Mabee and Tom Brower.
Zimmerman said thanks to a ballot issue passed by school district
residents last August, the new construction projects will be funded.

Local men arrested in national heroin sting
By RYAN HORNS
Two Union County men have been arrested for their alleged role in a
national investigation into a black tar heroin ring out of Mexico.
Union County Sheriff's Lt. Jamie Patton reported this morning that on
Tuesday at 6:44 a.m., investigators arrested Nathan Lewis, 29, at 18030
Timber Trails on a federal arrest warrant for two charges related to
conspiracy to distribute and possession with the intent to distribute heroin.
Patton said the arrest went without incident and Lewis was immediately
transported to Columbus authorities in charge of the investigation.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge
Anthony Marotta said this morning that a second Union County person was
arrested in the federal round-up, however, the name of that person was
not available to him before press time.
Patton said that the name of the person has not been provided to Union
County authorities, as the warrant is still pending.
A follow up on that arrest is expected in a future edition of the Journal-Tribune.
Marotta said that the two arrests in Union County were part of a nine-
month investigation by the DEA, in conjunction with other county
authorities in Ohio. He explained that a Mexican drug organization had
two major cells - which agents were able to uncover - working in central Ohio.
Once the black tar heroin made it to Ohio, he said, the drug was then
sold to local dealers who then distributed it in smaller amounts to individuals.
Marotta said Lewis and the second Union County man arrested were
allegedly part of that second retail tier, often selling it an ounce at a time.
"That was his role," he said of Lewis. "What you had was a lot of these
were being purchased at a shopping center - the Kroger Shopping Center
in Dublin/Muirfield."
The Kroger grocery store he referred to is located approximately 20
minutes from Marysville, just outside of Union County and off of U.S. 33
into Muirfield.
Marotta said the DEA's investigation was extensive, resulting in
investigators completing six wiretaps and seven search warrants. The
investigation concluded with 28 indictments of people in the central
Ohio area who were allegedly working in conjunction with the drug ring
out of Mexico. To date, federal authorities have been able to locate 20
of the suspects - all of whom are currently in custody.
Marotta said that out of the central Ohio roundup agents also recovered
assault rifles, two loaded revolvers, around $50,000 in cash and the
confiscation of approximately 1 kilo of black tar heroin. Investigators
did not specify what, if any, contraband was related to Lewis' arrest.
Playing a large role in the federal investigation, Marotta said, were
Union County Sheriff's Office investigators who worked alongside DEA agents.
Whether the drug's existence in Marysville and Union County is
extensive, the investigator did not say. However, on Tuesday afternoon
local medics responded to Caddie Drive in the city for a heroin-related incident.

'I don't tinker with people's lives'
Mayor Kruse holds firm on stance to keep rail crossing closed

By RYAN HORNS
Marysville Mayor Tom Kruse said he is firm on his stance that opening
the East Fifth Street railroad crossing would be a safety hazard for residents.
"I don't see it any other way," Kruse said at the Tuesday night
Marysville Public Service meeting.
To start the meeting, a DLZ Ohio engineer representative provided his
update on the Draft Report traffic study including Fifth Street at the
Five Points intersection to Coleman's Crossing. The ultimate conclusion
was that the crossing should remain closed.
The study also proposes extending East Sixth Street so it creates a
connection from Columbus Avenue to East Fifth Street, which then goes to
U.S. 33 to Watkins Road. But the engineer said a connection could
actually extend from any road, including Seventh or Ninth streets.
Councilman Dan Fogt took issue with the reference to the crossing
closure receiving "several" complaints from residents. He said it was
more like "hundreds" of complaints.
City engineer Phil Roush said that by the 2026 projection stated in the
report, if East Fifth Street remains open then the Five Points
Intersection "becomes a parking lot" from congestion.
To the dozen residents and business owners at the meeting, it was
neither the answer they wanted to hear, nor the answer they believed to
be the reality of the crossing situation.
Several residents said if the issue were money, then they would band
together and help raise the cash to fix the crossing. If the issue is
traffic, then none can see the logic in road conditions being any better
with the crossing closed. If the issue is safety, most agreed that the
conditions are more dangerous than they were before.
Business owner Harold Green recalled that safety was the big issue when
the mayor closed the crossing. Now the crossing has been repaired and is
safer. History has shown traffic accidents have never been an issue
there. He also pointed out that the DLZ study states that it doesn't
matter if the crossing remains closed or open ? so why not open it?
In regards to traffic, Green said the majority of drivers wanting to use
East Fifth Street would be accessing businesses such as 84 Lumber,
Wal-Mart, Home Depot, YMCA, the daycare facilities, or the new medical
facilities. That would free up traffic from Delaware Avenue to the highway.
"I think you are underestimating the amount of vehicles who would travel
down East Fifth Street," Fogt said.
If safety is the mayor's concern, then Green said Kruse should consider
the new hazards that came with closing the crossing. With the new
congestion on Delaware Avenue, his wife was caught in a three-car pile
up and taken to the hospital. He said the crash caused the 4:45 p.m.
after work traffic to line up down the road on either side, and "it took
medics forever to get there." If the fire department could have accessed
East Fifth Street, they would have been there sooner.
"What if my wife had laid there and bled to death?" he said.
Green also didn't agree with the figures in the study claiming problems
with traffic in the future.
"None of us in this room is smart enough to know what we will need by
2026," Green said.
Councilman Ed Pleasant expressed concern for the plight of the
businesses in the area.
One female resident said it seems as if Kruse knows the businesses are
suffering and really doesn't care. Another man said those businesses
have been paying taxes for years, which have benefited the city.
Lil' Tykes Daycare owner Nicole Coy said when a juvenile recently pulled
the fire alarm at the facility, it took the fire department 17 minutes
to show up. The fire crews could not get the ladder truck to the
building because of the crossing closure. They finally had to cut
through the Taco Bell parking lot.
"What if there was a fire?" Coy said. "It's a huge concern."
But Kruse was not convinced, saying that by opening up the crossing more
cars will mean more chances for a fatal crash.
"I'm not willing to take that chance at this crossing," Kruse said.
Resident Martha Kramer said a person could get killed simply crossing a
street. So what is the big deal?
"It's a big deal," Kruse said.  "I don't tinker with people's lives."
Other residents pointed out that there are crossings in town that also
lack crossing arms and lights. Should the city close down the Industrial
Parkway crossing too?
"You may not like me," Kruse told the people in the room. "I suppose
some of you may not vote for me again."
He said he has nothing to gain and nothing to lose for keeping the
crossing closed, "except for the comfort in my own mind of doing what I
was supposed to do."
Fogt mentioned a special stop sign outside of the Dublin Jerome High
School, which has flashing lights around its perimeter. The sign would
work for the East Fifth Street railroad crossing. He said PUCO offers a
$5,000 grant that would help pay for the $6,000 cost of lighted stop sign.
Coy then pointed out that a letter from PUCO has stated that if the city
provides a 24-hour count for the crossing then the city could apply for
a grant to pay for lights and gates. Then money would not be an issue.
But they cannot apply for the grant unless they open up the crossing.
The owner of Kentucky Fried Chicken on Delaware Avenue asked if the city
had the money to spend would they fix it?
Kruse said that if the city had the money to spend it would be a
"tremendous waste of city resources" to focus on the crossing.
Green asked about the feasibility of citizens getting together and
writing up a ballot issue to have everyone vote on opening the East
Fifth Street crossing.
Kruse said that is definitely an option for them.

North Union, Triad improve scores
Marysville, JA  maintain "excellent" ratings on school report cards
By KARLYN BYERS
Two school districts in the Union County area received better marks from
the Ohio Department of Education on its Annual Report on Educational
Progress in Ohio.
North Union and Triad Schools received "effective" ratings from the ODE
in the 2005-2006 school year, going from "continuous improvement"
ratings in the 2004-2005 school year.
Marysville Exempted Village Schools and Jonathan Alder Local Schools
received "excellent" ratings on the report issued Tuesday.
Fairbanks also received an "effective" rating, according to the ODE "report card."
Eight out of every 10 districts in the state (491 out of 610) received
"excellent" or "effective" grades, reported Mitchell D. Chester,
associate superintendent of policy and accountability, in a Monday
afternoon conference call.
Mitchell also reported Ohio no longer has any district in "academic
emergency" and only seven remain in "academic watch."
Marysville and Jonathan Alder also received the "excellent" rating in
2004-2005. Fairbanks also received an "effective" grade in 2004-2005.
Performance Index Scores which measure the achievement of every tested
pupil, not just those who score proficient or higher, rose from 95.8
percent to 99.2 percent in Marysville; from 94.7 percent to 100.8
percent at Jonathan Alder; 93.3 percent to 95.8 percent at Fairbanks;
89.1 to 95.9 percent at North Union; and 88.8 to 92.6 percent at Triad.
This is the fourth year of Ohio's new accountability system, which
measures current achievement as well as improvement and incorporates the
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) requirements of the federal "No Child
Left Behind" Act. Previously, districts and schools were measured only
on the number of state indicators they achieved, according to the ODE.
Marysville, Jonathan Alder, Fairbanks, North Union and Triad all did not
meet the AYP determination during the 2005-2006 school year, according
to ODE data. Statewide, only 31.6 percent of Ohio's 610 school districts
met the criteria.
"Fewer schools and districts met AYP this year. The schools and
districts that missed AYP demonstrated the lowest performance with
students with disabilities, economically disadvantaged students and
black students," reported an ODE news release.
According to the ODE report, AYP measures whether schools and districts
have gaps in achievement among groups of students.
Although statewide reading scores remained flat since last year, more
than three-fourths of students are proficient or better compared to less
than one-half in 1995-1996, the first year of statewide reading tests,
the ODE reported.
The percentage of Marysville's third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-, seventh-
and eighth-graders who passed the reading achievement tests registered
in the 80 and 90 percent range, with the highest percentage - 92.9
percent - occurring among pupils who scored proficient or higher on the
sixth grade reading achievement test. Tenth-graders take the Ohio
Graduation Test; Marysville sophomores who scored proficient or higher
was 88.4 percent. The cumulative percentage of 11th grade students who
scored proficient or higher on the reading Ohio Graduation Test was 94.4
percent last school year.
The percentage of Jonathan Alder's third-, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-,
seventh- and eighth graders who passed the reading achievement tests
registered from 78.4 percent at the fourth-grade level to 95.9 percent
at the seventh-grade level. The percentage of 10th-graders who scored
proficient or higher in the reading Ohio Graduation Test was 94.1
percent, with a cumulative percentage of 11th grade students who scored
proficient or higher on the reading Ohio Graduation Test at 96.6 percent.
Fairbanks' reading percentage registered from 62.5 percent for the
number of third-graders who scored proficient or higher on the reading
achievement test to 94.8 percent of sophomores who scored proficient or
higher on the reading Ohio Graduation Test. Its cumulative percentage of
11th grade students who scored proficient or higher on the graduation
test was 98.9 percent during the 2005-2006 school year.
North Union's lowest reading score - 73.0 percent - occurred on the
eighth grade reading achievement test. Other reading test scores were in
the 80 percent range. Its percentage of 10th grade students who scored
proficient or higher on the reading Ohio Graduation Test was 92.7
percent, while its 11th grade cumulative percentage was 95.4 percent.
Percentages of pupils who passed the reading achievement test at Triad
ranged from 63.3 percent on the fifth grade test to 80 percent on the
seventh grade test. The percentage of 10th grade students who scored
proficient or higher on the reading graduation test was 95.1, with a
cumulative percentage of 11th grade students scoring 95.8 percent on the
graduation test.
For the eighth year in a row, Ohio's graduation rate increased,
according to the ODE. In 2004-2005 (the most recent year of available
data), 86.2 percent of Ohio students graduated from high school,
compared to 79.8 percent in 1996-1997.
Graduation rates at Marysville, Jonathan Alder, Fairbanks, North Union
and Triad were above the state average, at 95.6 percent, 89 percent,
95.8, 93 and 91.8 percent respectively.
Additional Report Card information may be found at the Ohio Department
of Education Web site at www.ode.state.oh.us/reportcard/

Alleged abuse detailed
Couple enter not guilty pleas; court documents give clues to some
allegations

From J-T staff reports:
Facing more than 63 combined counts of child abuse, a Springfield-area
husband and wife entered not guilty pleas at their arraignments in Union
County Common Pleas Court this morning.
Court reports show James Ferguson, 46, faces 30 counts, all second-and
third-degree felonies, ranging from endangering children and permitting
child abuse, to felonious assault against his five adopted children. The
crimes allegedly occurred between July 24, 2000 to Nov. 19, 2004. The
couple had lived at homes on Holycross Epps Road and on Patricia Drive.
Court reports indicate Mr. Ferguson was an employee of Honda of America.
His wife, Vonda Ferguson, 43, faces more serious charges such as
first-degree felony rape, along with similar second- and third-degree
felonies of assault, permitting child abuse and endangering the same children.
Just after 11 a.m. today the Fergusons pleaded not guilty before Union
County Judge Richard Parrott. Scheduling conferences were set for Sept.
6 at 1:45 p.m. for Mrs. Ferguson and another for Sept. 14 at 8:30 a.m.
for Mr. Ferguson.
The Bill of Particulars, which explain the specifics of the alleged
crimes, has not been released. However, a discovery filed with the case
today includes the transcript of a tape recorded interview with James
Ferguson conducted by a Union County Sheriff's investigator.
The line of questioning and some of Mr. Ferguson's responses give
details about the nature of some of the abuse claims.
In the court papers Mr. Ferguson describes hitting the children with a
belt, a piece of window trim wrapped in duct tape and his hand. He
admitted that some of the spankings resulted in the children's underwear
being stained with blood.
In fact, Mr. Ferguson said that his wife at times required him to beat
the children until they bled.
"She says to me ... you didn't hit 'em long enough. I want to see
blood," he said.
Mr. Ferguson said the beatings would last from 2 to 5 minutes and
occurred daily. At one point Mr. Ferguson said he took the metal clasp
off of his belt because it dug into his hand as he whipped the children.
The questions by the investigator give light to the claims of abuse made
by the children. Mr. Ferguson denied many of the allegations.
Those allegations include:
. An incident in which one of the children may have sustained a broken
leg at the hands of Vonda Ferguson.
. An incident in which Vonda Ferguson stuck a plunger handle down the
throat of one of the children.
. An incident in which one of the children was dangled over a banister,
8-10 feet above the floor.
. An incident in which a child was placed in a tub of scalding bathwater.
. Incidents in which the children were given rotten food to eat or
spoiled milk to drink.
. Incidents in which childrens' heads were held under water as punishment.
. Incidents in which some of the children were made to wear urine soaked
underwear on their heads.
. Incidents in which children were kicked in the stomach or chest.
. Incidents in which "soiled" rags were stuffed in the childrens' mouths.
. Allegations of using makeup to cover scars on the children.
Mr. Ferguson is being represented by Dublin attorney Kerry Donahue and
his wife is being represented by Springfield attorney Gregory Lind.
Donahue complained to Parrott that the indictments against Mr. Ferguson
are "defective." He also requested a change in court venue to one
outside of Union County. He said prosecutors "have no evidence of a
crime even occurring in Union County."
If convicted, Union County Prosecutor David Phillips said possible life
in prison could await the Fergusons for the alleged abuse.

Fairbanks names high school principal
From J-T staff reports:
Fairbanks School Board members hired Thomas Montgomery as high school
principal Monday night, granting the Wells Road resident a three-year contract.
The decision was made in a special 5 p.m. meeting, one in which board
members also accepted the resignation of Jeff Parker, high school
principal during the 2005-2006 school year.
Montgomery has been assistant principal for the past nine years at
Franklin Heights High School in Franklin County.
He holds a bachelor's degree in education and athletic training from
Wilmington College and a master's degree in education administration
from the Ohio State University.
He and his wife, Donna Morley Montgomery, a FHS graduate who is
children's minister at Jerome United Methodist Church, are the parents
of three sons, James, 7, David, 4, and Daniel, 15 months.
Mr. Montgomery said his mother-in-law used to drive a school bus for the
Fairbanks District and he and his family live on the same road on which
his wife grew up.
It is a "principal's dream" to be able to live and work in the school
district which his children will attend, he added.
Montgomery also cited the family atmosphere in the school district, the
way residents support the schools, and academic excellence as huge pluses.
The Fairbanks community has good morals and ethics, he said, adding
"It's where I want to raise my family."
In other business, the board:
.Approved certified contracts for Thomas Tate, elementary teacher, and
Sarah Shaffer, long-term substitute teacher who replaces Pam Hammond who
is on a one-year leave of absence. Both are effective for the 2006-2007 school year.
.Accepted the resignation of Karen Thomas, educational aide.
.Approved the district technology teacher leader as a supplemental
contract to be added to the negotiated contract.
.Conducted the first reading of the Wellness Policy.
.Entered into executive session to discuss the selection of a new board
member to succeed Sherry Shoots, who resigned July 11 to spend more time
with her family. The new board member will be announced at the regularly
scheduled meeting Aug. 21.

J.A. officials consider fourth levy try
By CORINNE BIX
The Jonathan Alder Board of Education meeting Monday was bittersweet as
board members pondered how to approach the next election while
celebrating forecasted news that the district will receive an excellent state rating.
The district will return to the voters for a fourth time in November
after residents voted down an emergency 5.9 mills property tax levy for
operating costs last week. In Union County the issue failed 51.17
percent to 48.83 percent. There were 417 against and 398 votes for the
property tax. In Madison County the issue went down 54.1 percent to
45.85 percent. There were 919 votes against the property tax and 778 for
the tax. If it had passed, the temporary levy would have taken effect
for the next five years and then expire.
This property tax levy came after two income tax levies were defeated
this past February and last November.
The district will begin implementing level one internal cuts to
eliminate $300,000. This will include freezing the operating budget by
not purchasing textbooks, miscellaneous supplies and purchasing only one
versus three buses.
Last night the board approved purchasing one bus from Cardinal bus sales
for $64,800.
Superintendent Doug Carpenter said the need for one bus is necessary and
ideally the district would purchase two to three buses to properly turn
over the bus fleet.
"To safely transport students, we have to buy one," Carpenter explained,
"We can't put kids at risk."
The board took some time brainstorming as to how to approach the Nov. 7
general election
The state board of education requires school districts that may have a
levy on the upcoming ballot to pass an initial resolution to start the
process. For the November ballot, the deadline to run an income tax levy
is Aug. 14 and the deadline to run a property tax levy is Aug. 18. On
Aug. 10, the board met for a special meeting and passed the initial
resolution for the income tax option and last night passed the initial
resolution for the property tax levy. By passing both resolutions the
district essentially buys themselves more time to research more on what
will be the better received of the two levy options in November.
The board will need to make a final decision by Aug. 24. It has a work
session scheduled for Saturday to discuss the issue further and review
the budget. The board is considering running an .75 percent earned
income tax levy. Carpenter said the earned income tax levy is an
attractive option because it only taxes individuals currently earning
money. Seniors receiving pensions and/or retirement payments would not
be affected. In addition there is no tax on dividends or estates.
Elizabeth Beach, director of teaching and learning for the district
reported that the district is projected to receive an excellent rating
as determined by the state's report card system.
Preliminary results show the district met 24 out of 25 of the state
indicators, falling short on the graduation rate requirement.
Dr. John Adams, board member, gave the facilities report and said the
athletic field house is fully operational. This past weekend several
football and soccer scrimmages were held.
The next regular board meeting will be Monday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.
In other news, the board:
. Set Jonathan Alder High School textbook distribution times at the high
school library: Aug. 22-23 noon to 8 p.m., Aug. 25 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.,
Aug. 28, 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
. Approved the financial report for July 2006
. Approved a liability and fleet/property program for 2006-2007
. Approved request by treasurer to allow "E-Collect" to collect on bad checks
. Approved the resignations of: Pat Sukalich, speech and language
pathologist; Scott Davis, high school social studies teacher and varsity
boys basketball coach; and Andy Clark, assistant boys high school
basketball coach
. Approved the following employees: Ann Davis, summer tutoring for the
Ohio Graduation Test, 144 hours at $20/hour; Amy Egolf,  junior high
intervention specialist; Harriet Merriman, teacher leader at junior
high; Kelly Hicks, teacher leader at Plain City Elementary; Donna
McBride, K-1 summer school intervention teacher (8/7-8/18 at $20 per
hour); Steve Dedent, head boys' basketball coach; Bart Andrews, social
studies teacher; Kristi Reynolds, sophomore class advisor; Jim Smith,
volunteer high school football coach; Jessica Obringer, volunteer girls
soccer; Michelle Wright, student tutor at $20/hour.
. Approved the following open enrollment students: Benjamin Early, first
grade at Monroe; Kaylin Glennan, 12th grade at Tolles; Jordan
Hutchinson, seventh grade at the junior high; Zachary Baugess, 11th
grade at Tolles only; Michelle Mulier, 11th grade at Tolles only; Amber
Harrington, 12th grade at JAHS; Heather Rupert, 12th grade at Tolles
only; Troy Parks, first grade at Plain City; Justice Palmer, third grade
at Monroe; Spencer Palmer, first grade at Monroe
. Approved proposed policy on acceleration required by the state.

Wagon train vacationers will gather in county
By CORINNE BIX
Imagine a true vacation, no phones, no deadlines, no places to be or
people to see, no modern transportation.
"The old time vacation is where the Amish and English join together for
a 43-mile, three-day round trip vacation to the Ohio Caverns by horses
and wagons," Ron Schilling, vacation organizer, said.
Schilling, 54, said this will be the first time he has helped organize a
three-day vacation. In past years he has helped put together 15-mile
trips around Danville. He also helped organize the 30-mile Union County
Bicentennial horse and wagon ride across the county from Plain City to
Magnetic Springs.
Schilling and his wife, Linda, will be participating in the vacation set
to begin on Wednesday evening at the Union County Fairgrounds. There are
45 people scheduled to make the trip including Levi and Anna Kuhns.
The Kuhns family, of Millersburg, will be one of three Amish families
from Holmes County taking part in the old time vacation.
"We are looking forward to it very much so," Kuhns said.
The Kuhns family includes six children ranging in age from 6 to 23 years
old. They are both looking forward to time away from their children.
Their last vacation was almost five years ago when they traveled to Lancaster.
The Schillings own HorseShoe Farm, a horse and carriage service on
Raymond Road. Kuhns and his family have a leather craft business and
make horse harnesses.
Everyone traveling on the vacation pays a nominal registration fee to
cover various trip costs.
Trip participants will camp out overnight at the Union County
Fairgrounds on Wednesday. A bluegrass/ acoustic music "superjam" session
is scheduled for Wednesday evening. Schilling has encouraged trip
participants to bring along acoustic instruments including banjos,
fiddles and mandolins so that they can join in the fun.
The group will head out on Thursday at 9 a.m. for North Lewisburg.
Schilling said the plan is to arrive in North Lewisburg at 11:30 a.m.
for lunch and to rest the horses. The caravan is set to leave at 2 p.m.
for West Liberty.
The group will camp in West Liberty overnight and then head out on
Friday morning to the Ohio Caverns.
Kuhns and his wife along with their friends have discussed doing the
Ohio Caverns trip for some time.
"We all like to camp," Kuhns said, "Every night we sit back around the
campfire and visit with friends."
On the return route, the group will return to North Lewisburg where they
will camp on Friday night. The vacation will end on Saturday as the
caravan heads back to the Union County fairgrounds.
Schilling said he has received a lot of support in organizing the
vacation. Various church and civic groups are helping to prepare meals
in North Lewisburg and West Liberty.
"This will give the Amish a true vacation, a break from cooking,"
Schilling explained.
Schilling is also working with law enforcement officials from  Union,
Logan and Champaign counties to help direct the group which will include
around 10 wagons, carts or buggies and a dozen horseback riders.
Kuhns said the trip would proceed rain or shine so participants need
plan accordingly.
"When you're dealing with that many people and animals, things are
always subject to change," Schilling commented.
He added that the public is welcome to visit with the group as they make
their three-day journey.
"People are more than welcome to come and see us along the way,"
Schilling said.
Kuhns said that the oldtime vacations give participants a feel for what
are early settlers went through.
"We are ready to sit back, relax and see what's out there," Kuhns said.

County audited; findings released

By CINDY BRAKE
A state auditor looked at the county's financial records recently and
found quite a few problems.
"Stupid mistakes" is what Union County Auditor Mary Snider calls them.
"As long as people are working, there are going to be errors. We strive
for perfection but we're not perfect."
The audit, released July 27, was of the county's financial statements
through Dec. 31, 2005.The extensive report includes detailed findings,
citations and recommendations.
Snider said the problems boil down to an arithmetic error,
miscalculation of sick pay and bad record keeping.
The arithmetic error occurred when adding hours for one Board of
Election employee.
Compensatory hours are logged on a manual timesheet and retained by each
individual employee. The manual records maintained by one employee
contained discrepancies caused by inaccurate data or mathematical
errors. As a result, the employee was overpaid. The state recommended
the Board of Elections adopt a written policy and procedure regarding
leave usage and accrual.
Karla Herron, Board of Elections director, said the overpayment was less
than $500 and repaid through overtime and vacation time. She added that
the department as a whole had a surplus of unpaid overtime.
An overpayment to an employee also occurred in funds overseen by the
Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Board.
In this situation, the employee converted accumulated unused sick hours.
At the time he was paid $50.65 an hour, but the payout was given at
$51.90 an hour resulting in an overpayment of $150. The individual
repaid the funds by means of a reduction in his payroll. MR/DD also
failed to submit data to the county auditor for employee leave balances,
usage and accrual records.
Newly named MR/DD superintendent Kim Miller said he welcomes the state
auditor's review of records to find ways to improve.
"Our doors are always open," Miller said. "We will take our direction
from the auditor."
Numerous other citations involved grant money that was not disbursed in
a timely fashion. Grants must be expended within a specific amount of
time and any interest earned should be returned. Numerous times county
employees failed to follow grant requirements. The report states that
the problem was the result of "the inexperience of the people
administering the grant." Since becoming aware of the problem, county
employees have corrected the problem, Snider said.
Randy Riffle, who oversaw the Homeland security grant funds, said this
problem began in 2004 when equipment was backordered.
"It was a bizarre thing that happened. Everything is documented and the
money was spent on Homeland Security equipment," Riffle said.
Snider said the biggest difference between this year's audit and those
of past years is that she was not involved and the state auditor did not
meet with departments prior to publishing the report.
"They are not bad things," Snider said, calling one citation "petty"
where one county office was cited for flipping a deposit between the
general fund and title fund on one day. The problem was corrected as
soon as it was discovered, Snider said.
The audit is available at the Auditor of State web site,
www.auditor.state.oh.us

Meeting to focus on new schools
From J-T staff reports:
Marysville School District administrators and architects will hold an
information meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium to
outline proposals for a second middle school and intermediate school to
be built on Route 4 near Southard Road.
A detailed overview of the project plans, including proposed building
locations, construction timelines, city annexation issues and results of
a traffic study will be presented. Questions from residents and
community members also will be answered.
More than 200 area residents living near the 162-acre school site
formerly owned by the Bunsold family have been invited to attend the
meeting, as have city and township officials.
Superintendent Larry Zimmerman said the new school proposals are part of
the district's plan to respond to rapid community growth, particularly
growth on the city's south side. Marysville Schools continue to grow by
250 students each year, and growth has been especially strong at the
intermediate and middle school grade levels, he said.
By building two schools with shared facilities on a common site, the
district expects to save a substantial amount of money on construction
and annual operating costs. Other key benefits of the proposed school
site that Marysville Schools administrators have previously highlighted include:
.The property is central to future residential growth on Marysville's south side
.There is direct access to nearby city water, sewer and other utility lines
.The site is close to key transportation routes including U.S.  33
.The site is large enough to house additional schools, including a
second high school
.The location provides school administrators with several options for
dividing the school district student population between two intermediate
and middle schools
.The purchase price of $12,000 per acre was significantly less expensive
than other available building sites.
More information about the proposed schools is available at the
Marysville Schools Web site at www.marysville.k12.oh.us.

Group will open Balloon Festival entertainment
Event to be held Friday, Saturday
By NATALIE TROYER
For fans of soulful R&B, Rod Cave promises a show that will leave
audiences begging for more.
"I think an audience hears with its eyes," said the 49-year-old electric
guitar player and lead vocalist for Hot Rod and the Blues DeVilles. "We
want to give audiences a wow factor."
The four-piece, Ohio-formed band will take the stage Friday from 6 to 8
p.m. during the All Ohio Balloon Festival at the Union County Airport.
The band incorporates elements of R&B, soul and rock in its music, with
three-part harmonies and a rock edge, said Cave, a native of London.
 "We play a lot of old cover songs, but we try to update them with a
real modern sound," he said.
 They perform songs from the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and the
Grand Funk Railroad. The band also has between 40 to 50 originals.
Hot Rod and the Blues DeVilles was originally formed in 2000 as a
five-piece band. Cave assembled players from other bands around Columbus.
"I was looking for musicians who could also sing. guys who wanted to
play music on a new level," he said.
 Two of the original members have since left the group, while
22-year-old keyboardist Mike McGrain of Urbana joined the band a little
over a year ago. Manny Manuel, 46, of Louisiana, a base guitarist and
vocalist, and Daryl Jumper, 51, of Columbus, a drummer and vocalist, are
the other current members.
 When asked about the band's name, Cave said some of his friends simply
thought it would be a good title. Cave, at first, didn't like it.
 "But I basically got outvoted," he said.
 The band has two CDs, the first of which is mainly R&B cover songs. The
second is all original music. They average about three shows a week,
playing in venues around the midwest. Cave said they used to frequent
Lee Dogs Saloon and the Stockyard Steakhouse and Saloon in Marysville.
But they've also opened for and played with blues legends such as Buddy
Guy and Kenny Neal.
The group's road to success has been gradual and it has required
patience, Cave said.
 "There have been a lot of shows where we've got in by the skin of our
teeth and been the opening band on the opening night," he said. ". Then
the next year we'd be headlining that same show."
 For Hot Rod and the Blues DeVilles, the thrill is in the journey, Cave said.
 "We're all mature musicians who don't necessarily want to make a dig in
the music industry," he said. "We just want to travel, make our own
music and do shows, no matter how big the club is or how many people are there."
 "To do something that you love to do and make a decent living doing it
is incredible," he continued. "You just have to have a passion for it."

Study supports closing rail crossing

By RYAN HORNS
The first draft of the traffic study on the East Fifth Street railroad
crossing states that it really doesn't matter if the city closes it or not.
Engineers with DLZ Ohio Inc. concluded that "open or closed, (East Fifth
Street) has little impact on the operation of the Fifth/Columbus
/Delaware Intersection at the present time."
However, their recommendations for the short-term are to keep East Fifth
Street closed for the best operation and to improve traffic signal
coordination on Delaware Avenue.
For the long-term, DLZ recommends reworking the entire east side traffic
system - more lanes on Delaware Avenue or begin planning for a second
corridor to provide an additional grade separated crossing of U.S. 33
"to meet the demands of through traffic now using Delaware Avenue."
Engineers recommend meeting with city staff to discuss the conclusions
and recommendations of the report.
Mayor Tom Kruse said DLZ is expected to make a presentation on the
report at Tuesday's Public Services meeting to be held at 7 p.m. in the
Public Service Center, 455 N. Maple St.
The report says that the next step is to update the draft, incorporating
comments received from the meeting. Another presentation would then be
made before Marysville City Council, ending with a plan to prepare the
final report.
The main conclusions DLZ found is that in the long-term (2026 and
beyond) re-opening East Fifth Street would have negative impact on the
operation of the Five Points Intersection.
"The Fifth Street approach requires a reduction in the green time for
the other traffic signal phases and introduces additional conflict
points under increased traffic volumes," the reports states. "It is best
to leave Fifth Street closed for the long-term. In addition,
consideration should be given to re-aligning Fifth Street to remove it
entirely from the intersection. This would increase both the capacity
and the safety of the intersection by allowing more green time for the
other movements and reducing the number of conflict points in the
existing intersection."
Engineers recommend additional lanes on Delaware Avenue and  for the
city to begin looking into formulating a plan for this to occur in the
future. An alternate to this would be to make a second corridor crossing
U.S. 33. The corridor may be developed by connecting Sixth Street to a
realigned Fifth Street at Columbus Avenue and extending Fifth Street
with a bridge across U.S. 33 to connect to Watkins Road. The
intersection of Fifth Street and Coleman's Crossing would have to be
reconstructed to provided better flow through it.
The report explains that traffic counts were taken the first week of
June at the intersection of Fifth Street, Delaware Avenue, Columbus
Avenue, Columbus Avenue and Cherry Street - otherwise known as Five
Points. An August 2004 Coleman's Crossing Traffic Study and a March City
Gate traffic studies were also used to develop conclusions. Engineers
explained that current traffic volumes were projected into the year 2026
using a growth rate of one percent per year. The same rate has been used
in previous studies prepared for the Mid Ohio Regional Planning
Commission for the central Ohio area.
"It was assumed that most of the traffic currently turning left from the
southbound Columbus Avenue/Industrial Parkway to Coleman's Crossing
would use Fifth Street," the report states.
A software system called Synchro determined the optimum signal timing
and coordination and the Level of Service at the intersections. Analysis
was performed with Fifth Street remaining closed and with Fifth Street re-opened.
However, as critics pointed out in past city council meetings, drivers
had already become used to not using the East Fifth Street and the
traffic count would reflect that. Also, with meetings scheduled, road
realignment costs and additional reports planned, how long will it take
the city to reach a final conclusion on the crossing issue? Does the
study take into account the ultimate downfall of business along the closed road?
Kruse said he would like to see the focus be on the problems with the
entire traffic area around Coleman's Crossing and Delaware Avenue,
instead of just the East Fifth Street dilemma.
"We're looking at it globally instead of as a single issue," he said.
Kruse said the railroad crossing issue is subjective. The city initially
saw the crossing as a safety problem. Now he said he'd hate to put too
much focus onto East Fifth Street, especially if it ends up being a
waste of money.
"I'd hate to put money into that without perspective," Kruse said.

City plans public meeting on study
By RYAN HORNS
Discussions are expected to kick into gear soon over the closed East
Fifth Street railroad crossing.
At the Marysville City Council meeting Thursday night, members asked
Mayor Tom Kruse about the recently completed East Fifth Street Railroad
Crossing study and if there is going to be a discussion about it. A full
article on the results of the report will be included in the Saturday
edition of the Journal-Tribune.
While the details of the study were not discussed at the meeting, Kruse
said there is going to be a presentation of the results at the Public
Services meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m., to be held in the Public Services
Center at 455 N. Maple St.
"Any comments we receive will be taken into consideration," Kruse said.
He said that information gleaned from that meeting will go into the
final report ? explaining that the recent completion of the traffic
study is only a draft report. This means the results will receive input
and discussion. At that point, the information from those discussions
will be sent back to the engineering firm which will prepare the final
report to come back before council.
Councilman Dan Fogt said he would like to see the city "proceed on
something" to get the railroad crossing opened up.
In other discussions, several ordinances requesting money for new
capital projects had first readings.
One ordinance requests $4,500 to pay for new doors and a security system
at the Public Service Building.
Kruse said this issue has been going through committees and has finally
come to council. He said the current door is in very poor condition.
"We've got to do something," Kruse said.
Fogt said that he'd like to see the issue moved along as quickly as
possible. Council members then waived first and second readings, passing
the ordinance on emergency.
For other appropriations, $7,945 was requested to install an
Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) for the Marysville Police Department
dispatch center. Discussion was also held on one for $37,000, to be
taken from the Parkland Development Funds in order to sandblast and
paint the Marysville Municipal Pool.
Fogt questioned why the money wasn't taken out of the General Fund.
"I'm not against this project," Fogt said. "I just want to do it right."
Councilman Mark Reams suggested city law director Tim Aslaner take a
look a the legalities of paying for the project out of Parkland funds.
Kruse said he didn't mind where the money came from, just that the
painting company suggested doing the work in the fall when the pool is closed.
The final appropriation requests a transfer of funds to fix the city street sweeper.
Kruse said the machine is too old and next year he would like to budget
around $200,000 to contract with Columbus Contract Sweeping, who he has
used in his private business ventures.
In other topics:
. Chamber Economic Development Director Eric Phillips reported that
Marysville is a finalist for Ohio Magazine's "Ohio's Best Hometown" contest.
. The last easement needed to make way for the Trunk Interceptor Sewer
Project had first reading.
Aslaner explained that the easement had numerous owners, and it should
be the last properly the city will potentially need to litigate. He
requested that the third reading be waived.
. Kruse asked that residents keep the catch basins drains near their
homes free of leaves and debris to help with city drainage. Street
workers are too busy with repaving and cannot attend to the basins as
before. He also thanked members of the public for their patience as the
roads are repaired.
. Elk Lodge president Nevin Taylor addressed council. He said that on
June 14 the Elks presented the city with flags to fly outside of city
hall. However, one of the flags the city chose not to fly ? one
remembering MIA and POW veterans. He asked that council reconsider
flying the flag on military holidays. He felt that not honoring veterans
was a mistake.
"I know a lot of ideas come through council," he said, "but I think we
dropped the ball here."
Council Vice President Ed Pleasant accepted the flag.
. Local radio broadcaster Louis Gruenbaum told council that her position
with WUCO ended on July 21 and that the station has announced it will no
longer be running local news.
. The Outstanding Employee of the Quarter Award was presented to
Wastewater Operations Chief Richard Shane for his work at the Wastewater
Treatment Plant. Kruse said that during the interim process from moving
to a new wastewater plant, Shane has been invaluable.

Not guilty verdict reached
Jury does not  convict Adams  for stabbing at wedding reception

From J-T staff reports:
The man who stabbed a father and a son during a fight at a wedding
reception in April walked away from  Union County Common Pleas Court a
free man on Wednesday.
Eric D. Adams, 36, of Plain City was found not guilty on two
second-degree felonious assault charges and not guilty on two aggravated
assault charges. He faced a potential of 16 years in prison for stabbing
Ricky Lee Diamond Jr., 18, and Ricky J. diamond Sr., 46, both of 21244
Liberty West Road, multiple times during a fight outside the Liberty
Township building.
After the jury's decision was read, members of Adams' family hugged each
other. Across the aisle to their right, the friends and family of the
two Diamonds simply shook their heads in disbelief.
"Obviously I disagree with the verdict," Union County Prosecutor David
Phillips said.
He said while he respects the jury's decision, he doesn't believe
stabbing two people 13 times is an appropriate response to a fist fight.
When asked what kind of message Adams' freedom may send to other people
involved in similar fights, Phillips said every case is going to be
different when it comes to self-defense.
Defense attorney Sam Shamansky said Phillips did an excellent job
presenting the facts but there was only so much anyone could do with two
"incredibly violent hoodlums" as victims.
He said the credibility of the Diamonds was in question because "you
couldn't trust them as far as you could throw them. Juries can see right
through cases for what they are."
Looking at the history of the two Diamonds, Shamansky said, there was no
reason Adams would have anything to do with them. Adams tried to leave
the party and they wouldn't let him, the attorney said.
"I want to thank you for your devotion," Union County Common Pleas Court
Judge Richard Parrott told the jury afterwards.
Members of the panel had spent more than 11 hours in a two-day period in deliberation.
After the not guilty verdict was read, Parrott asked the bailiffs to
allow Shamansky to escort Adams, along with friends and family, out of the courthouse.
He also allowed the jury to leave at that point. The Diamond family and
friends were requested to stay another five minutes before they were
allowed to leave.

New K-9 officer, Kahn, on duty
Marysville Police Dept.'s first dog, Indi, retires

By RYAN HORNS
The Marysville Police Department retired one of its most feared
officers, only to replace him with a new face: A dog named Khan.
Wednesday afternoon officers, city administrators and friends met at the
department at City Hall in a retirement send off for the first K-9
officer in the department's history, 10-year-old Indi.
A little grayer around the face these days, Indi walked around the
people talking, or stood nearby any children eating cake hoping for a
hand out. Every once in a while someone would "accidentally" drop some
food on the floor - which Indi would soon clean up.
For Marysville canine trainer, Dave Nist, the retirement party was
bittersweet. It signified the end of an era and the beginning of a new
one as Khan is already on duty.
"He's really mellowed out," Nist said about Indi. "It's like night and day."
Later Wednesday, Nist and Assistant Marysville Police Chief Glenn Nicol
introduced Khan - a 11/2 -year-old male Belgian Malinois imported from
Europe last April.
Nits said the training to get Khan on the street to fight crime began
immediately and ended in June.
"What's interesting about Khan is that his mother was a police dog and
both of his grandparents were police dogs," he said, explaining that the
police work was in the dog's blood.
This time around, Nist said he was given the education to become a
certified dog trainer for the department.
"It was a benefit to the department," Nicol said. "It probably saved us
about six thousand dollars."
Nist said that when Indi was imported from Europe, the dog was already
trained and Nist only needed a 5-week training course to learn to work
with the dog. But he was involved with training Khan from the very first day.
"I learned it takes a lot of time and a lot of patience and a lot of
repetition," Nist said. "It's a lot of work but it's a lot of fun."
In order to afford another police dog to replace Indi, the police
department sought out donations from the community. The plea was
received well. The department was able to meet its goal to purchase Khan
after a $5,000 donation from Union Rural Electric and another $500
donation from the local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter.
Nist said he plans to continue taking Khan on demonstrations to local
schools, Boy Scouts troupes and 4-H events. The next demonstration will
be at the Marysville Fire Department Open House on Sept. 9.
Trained in tracking, obedience, narcotics, building searches and more,
Nist said he was glad to find Khan has a great temperament with people.
"He's very hyper, but friendly," he said.
When asked if Nist always saw himself working with dogs back when he
first joined the department in 1996, he responded that he didn't. But
his answer reminded him of a story from years ago.
When he was in college at Tiffin University the school had a K-9 program
and one day the department took the dog to the football field and bet
Nist that he couldn't race the trained animal to the endzone before
being bitten. Nist started from the 50 yard line and the dog started on
the 30 yard line and then they both started running.
"It's a cool experience to have the dog chase after you like that," he said.
Nist made it to the endzone, but the dog bit him on the protective arm
sleeve anyway.
"Ever since then," he said. "I thought it was pretty neat."

Stabbing trial in hands of jury

By RYAN HORNS
"You don't bring knives to a fist fight," Union County Prosecutor David Phillips said.
In his closing arguments at the Union County Common Pleas Court Tuesday,
the prosecutor explained to jurors that the whole issue of a double
stabbing at a wedding on April 22 has to do with excessive force.
Tuesday afternoon's court session concluded with closing arguments from
both sides of the case against Eric D. Adams, 36, of Plain City.
Phillips said Adams faces up to 16 years in jail for two counts of
felonious assault and two counts of aggravated assault after stabbing
Ricky Lee Diamond Jr., 18, and  Diamond's father, Ricky J. Sr., 46, both
of 21244 Liberty West Road. Adams pleaded not guilty by reason of  self-defense.
At around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, jurors began their deliberations. After
seven hours, no verdict had been reached. Union County Common Pleas
Court Judge Richard Parrott asked them to go home and resume the process
this morning. They remained in deliberation the entire morning.
While Phillips focused on the brutality of the stabbing in his closing
arguments, Columbus-based defense attorney Sam Shamansky said anyone who
was being "pummeled by two thugs" is within his rights to use any means
necessary to repel an attack to save his life.
Shamansky said the Diamonds were so intent on inflicting pain on Adams
they didn't even realize they were being stabbed. He said Adams feared
the two men would pull him from the car and beat him worse or hurt
someone else in his family.
"How many blows do you take?" Shamansky asked jurors. "Do you wait until
your teeth are knocked out ... do you wait until you lose an eye?"
Phillips then reminded jurors that Adams stabbed the father and son a
total of 13 times in a fight that lasted only 25 seconds.
One wound reportedly nicked the liver of the younger Diamond. Both
father and son underwent surgery and remained hospitalized for several
days. Adams, it was reported, had barely a wound to show for the alleged
attack, aside from a small scratch between his eyes.
Standing next to the victims' bloody clothes which were placed on
mannequins, Phillips said the force Adams used was not in proportion to
the alleged attack and that is why jurors should find him guilty.
Phillips rhetorically asked that if Adams feared for his life, then why
didn't he tell investigators? Not once did he tell anyone, Phillips
said, including his wife. He also pointed out that if Adams had not
stabbed the Diamonds, the fight would have ended the same way, with
Adams driving away from the scene.
When word of the April 22 stabbing at the Liberty Township wedding
became public knowledge, witnesses on the scene explained that Adams had
only become enraged because he was in a hurry to leave and wanted
someone to cut the wedding cake. However, over the past two days in
court, witnesses delved further into the rocky history of the
relationship between Adams and the Diamonds.
In closing arguments, Shamansky described the father and son as "thugs"
who were looking to start something with Adams.  Even at an earlier
date, the elder Diamond had warned Adams: "You and I are going to have our day."
Phillips, though, said Adams' testimony conflicts with other witnesses.
When questioned about the stabbing, Adams reportedly had trouble
remembering anything.
He reportedly couldn't recall how the knife opened or whether either of
the Diamonds first started punching him.
Other questions included whether the knife was already out of the glove
compartment, or was it already on the floor of the car?
Phillips said all of these conflicting reports indicate that Adams'
testimony is not credible.

J.A. levy defeated
By CORINNE BIX
Jonathan Alder School District will return to the voters for a fourth
time in November after residents voted down an emergency 5.9-mill
property tax for operating costs on Tuesday.
In Union County the issue failed 51.17 percent to 48.83 percent. There
were 417 against and 398 votes for the property tax.
In Madison County the issue went down 54.1 percent to 45.85 percent.
There were 919 votes against the property tax and 778 for the tax.
If it had passed, the temporary levy would have taken effect for the
next five years and then expire.
This property tax levy came after two income tax levies were defeated
this past February and last November.
The district will begin implementing level one cuts to include freezing
the operating budget by not purchasing new school buses, textbooks or
miscellaneous supplies.
The school board is scheduled to meet for a work session on Saturday,
Aug. 19 at 8:30 a.m. to discuss the district's financial future.
During the work session they will finalize level one cuts along with
examining the district budget and five-year forecast.
If the property tax levy fails a second time in November, the district
will eliminate high school busing, various extra-curriculars and some staff.
"Anything a school district has that can be reduced we will look at
reducing," superintendent Doug Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the need for an increase is inevitable when you consider
the added cost of a fifth district building, the state flat lining
districts funding in the current year budget, and that the district is
at the state minimum allowed (20 mills) to operate the schools.
"We can't keep doing the same things we used to do without an increase
to operate the school district," he said.
The next regular school board meeting will be Monday, Aug. 14 at 7:00 p.m.

Wedding stabbing trial opens

By RYAN HORNS
Wearing rubber gloves and pointing to bloody clothes on a nearby
mannequin inside the Union County Common Pleas Court, prosecutors
explained why they believe a Plain City man allegedly stabbed a father
and son at an April wedding this year.
In a crime that made international news, the trial for Eric D. Adams,
36, of 6535 Perry Pike Road in Plain City, started on Monday morning.
Reports from the courthouse this morning indicate that the trial may
wrap up today, although it was expected to last three days. The case is
being heard in front of Union County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Parrott.
According to prosecutors, Adams was charged with two counts of felonious
assault. He is accused of stabbing Ricky Lee Diamond Jr., 18, and Ricky
J. Diamond Sr., 46, both of  21244 Liberty West Road, at a wedding
reception held at the Liberty Township Community Center at 21463 Main
St. in Raymond, on April 22.
Law enforcement officers reported that a 9-1-1 call was made at about
4:14 p.m. reporting that two men had been stabbed. Deputies from the
Union County Sheriff's Office and medical crews from Liberty and Allen
Township fire departments responded to the scene. The Diamonds were then
flown to the Ohio State University Medical Center by MedFlight and Care
Flight. After allegedly stabbing the Diamonds, Adams reportedly drove
away from the community hall and was picked up and arrested by deputies
without incident.
On Monday a stream of Union County Sheriff's deputies and relatives of
the Diamonds were called to testify in court  - all agreeing that Adams
came to the wedding that day in a bad mood, looking to cause trouble.
Columbus-based defense attorney Sam Shamansky said his client stabbed
the two out of self-defense. Adams told deputies that the only way he
could get the two to stop punching him was to use the knife that fell
from inside the glove compartment of his car.
Throughout Monday the crime was pieced together from different points of view.
The younger Diamond said he heard shouting outside the township hall and
saw Adams yelling at his 7-year-old female cousin.
"He made a gesture with his fist like he was going to hit her," he said.
"I got right in the middle."
He said Adams then grabbed him by the middle of his shirt and a scuffle
started, as the two men began punching each other.
At that point, Diamond said his father came to help break up the fight.
Unbeknownst to them, Adams had grabbed a 3-inch knife
from inside the car.
Both the father and son described being stabbed, as if they
were just being punched.
"I thought (Adams) was hitting me," Diamond Jr. said. "It felt like a punch."
The father said he only realized there was a knife when he saw the hole
through his son's hand and the blood. The outfit he wore as father of
the bride, now covered in blood and part of court evidence, was propped
up on a mannequin in the courtroom. The father was stabbed seven times,
the son was stabbed six times.
Diamond and Phillips pointed out the stab holes and blood covering the
mannequin clothing the victims were wearing that night.
They later discovered that one of the six stab wounds the younger
Diamond suffered had nicked a piece of his liver.
Shamansky however, pointed out that his researched showed the young
Diamond allegedly had a history of violence going back to being
suspended from school after assaulting a teacher.
Lisa Diamond, the daughter of  Rick Diamond Sr., said she witnessed
some of the crime.
"I just seen blood going everywhere," she testified. "(Her father's)
shirt was just filling faster than anything with blood."
Yvette Wenger was a server for the reception that night. She said it was
obvious Adams spent the night "agitated and irritated." A plate of food
sat in front of him, and he never ate. He also chose not to socialize.
Wenger said Adams wanted to get the wedding cake cut, but soon decided
to leave and then became involved in a fight with the younger Diamond outside.
Later during the trial deputy Aaron McKinnon described how Adams drove
away from the crime scene in a yellow Mustang with a 7-year-old female
relative. Then deputies Mike Justice and Kevin Weller described
interviewing Adams about the stabbing.
Weller said Adams spoke of trying to leave the party, but the Diamonds
wouldn't let him go. He said a knife had fallen out of his glove
compartment when he had tried to reach for his cigarettes. As he was
being punched, he grabbed the knife - why he did it, he did not know,
the deputy said.
"He said 'I was just going nuts,'" Weller said.
He said Adams just wanted the Diamonds to stop.
Phillips pointed out that at no time did Adams ever tell deputies that
he feared for his life or even bodily harm.

Record number turn out for fair
From J-T staff reports:
The 2006 Union County Fair posted record-setting attendance.
Fair spokesman Kay Griffith said attendance was "way up" almost everyday
with the final night "blown out of the water ... a fantastic night." In
fact, the fairgrounds ran out of parking spaces and cars were parked at
a nearby business.
At Wednesday's senior breakfast, the 160 chairs were quickly filled and
more were added to accommodate visitors.
"We were extremely pleased with attendance," Griffith said Monday.
She credits last week's perfect weather Monday through Wednesday, as
well as high gas prices for encouraging people to look for fun close to
home. The annual seven-day event highlights agricultural and business
activities in the county, as well as the 4-H and FFA programs. A roundup
of last week's results is included in today's Marysville
Journal-Tribune.
Compared to last year's attendance, Griffith said, Monday's attendance
was 50 short of double, Tuesday was triple and Friday was 10 percent
over the previous record-setting number.
"Community support is overwhelming for our fair," Griffith said, not
only in the number of people who attend but also the amount of support
from business and social agencies. All events, she said, are sponsor supported.
"This fair could not exist without sponsors," Griffith said.
Bills are still out and the final tally on profit should be available in September.

Standing still as the earth moves below you
Editor's note: Reporter Natalie Troyer recently took flight with hot air
balloonist Bob Scobee to get a first-hand look at the appeal of the
pastime.

---
By NATALIE TROYER
With a sweat-soaked brow and reporter's notebook in hand, I stood in
that wicker basket as we delicately soared through the pastel blue sky.
Peering down at treetops and miniature people, I reluctantly asked my
pilot, "Are you sure no one's ever fallen out of these things?" To which
he responded with a "no" and a grin.
Yes, fear was one of my emotions that evening of July 19. That was the
night I entrusted my life to a 1,500 pound hot air balloon and a pilot
I'd never even met.
My journey began at 6:30 p.m. when I arrived at the Union County Airport
to meet hot air balloon pilot Bob Scobee, 47, of Marysville, and the
young couple who'd be taking flight with me, Jenelle Triplett and Kevin Miller.
We shook hands, exchanged brief introductions, and then stood back as
Scobee prepared to blow up the balloon.
He attached a burner system to the basket, then attached the actual
balloon (which Scobee referred to as the "envelope") and laid it out on
the ground. He and his two member ground crew then began inflating it
with cold air, using this giant fan at the base of the envelope.
When there was enough air in the balloon, Scobee blasted the burner
flame into the envelope mouth. Modern hot air balloons heat the air by
burning propane, the same substance commonly used in outdoor cooking
grills. He said that hot air balloons are based on a very basic
scientific principle - warmer air rises.
And the weather actually plays a large role in how easy it is to get the
balloon off the ground, Scobee said. If the air outside is cooler, a
pilot doesn't have to produce as much heat inside the balloon, making it
easier on he or she to get the balloon to rise.
The temperature that day was in the mid 90s which Scobee said was not
ideal, but "doable."
So with the balloon fully inflated and ground crew members holding the
basket down, Scobee hopped in.
"OK, guys. Time to go," he said, motioning toward me and my new friends
to get in before the balloon lifted off without us.
Grabbing the side of the basket, I gracefully hoisted myself inside.
Jenelle and Kevin followed my lead. Scobee then gave us a short pep talk
- basically, that we were to keep ourselves in the basket, don't lean
over the edge and keep our feet on the ground at all times.
No problem.
"Once we get up there, it also won't be nearly this loud or this hot,"
Scobee shouted as he fired a flame from the burner into the balloon.
He must have noticed the increasing perspiration across my forehead.
Heat mixed with nerves will do that to you.
I then felt a light jolt as the ground crew released the balloon. Scobee
began firing a steady flame from the burner, and we lifted off into the sky.
He explained that the envelope is constructed out of nylon, which works
well because it is lightweight, sturdy and has a high melting
temperature. The skirt, the nylon at the base of the envelope, is coated
with special fire-resistant material to keep the flame from igniting the
balloon.
So I at least knew the balloon wouldn't catch on fire. Check plus for that.
We escalated higher and higher - 100 feet, 500 feet, then 1,000 feet.
And I peered over the edge at a town I've driven through a thousand
times, but that now seemed to have such a different appeal.
The tranquility. The serenity. The nausea.
I pulled myself back from the railing and grabbed my bottle of water.
"So I think I just realized that I have a fear of heights," I casually told Scobee.
I can handle roller coasters. At least then I'm strapped in a seat,
losing circulation in my legs. But there's a sense of protection that
comes with the numbness.
Standing in that wicker basket, knowing that it was the only thing
protecting me from a plunge to the death, I began doubting that basket's stability.
So did Kevin.
"I gotta think here, Bob," he said. "With the evolution of ballooning,
there should be a better basket than this... I mean, I want to be
strapped in or something."
But Scobee explained that wicker works very well because it is sturdy,
flexible and relatively lightweight. The flexibility helps with balloon
landings because, in a basket made of more rigid material, passengers
would feel the brunt of the impact force. Wicker material flexes a
little, absorbing some of the energy, he said.
Knowing that the landing would at least be pleasant, I took a deep
breath and focused my eyes on the horizon.
"We sure aren't going very fast or very far," I said, noticing that we
were still practically hovering over the airport.
The wind was coming out of the southeast at 5 to 7 knots, which isn't
enough to take us on a really long expedition, Scobee said. We'd be
lucky to go a couple miles.
"We're going northeast," he said. "Just not quickly."
He decided to use a tactic in order to "find some wind."
To maneuver horizontally, a pilot needs to change his or her vertical
position, Scobee said, because wind blows in different directions at
different altitudes. To move in a particular direction, a pilot ascends
and descends to the appropriate level and rides with the wind.
Scobee pulled on a cord which opened the parachute valve at the top of
the envelope, allowing some hot air to escape from the envelope,
decreasing the inner air temperature. This caused the balloon to slow
its ascent. If he kept the valve open long enough, the balloon would sink.
He then tried increasing the vertical speed by blasting a larger flame
to heat the air more rapidly. Since wind speed generally increases as
you get higher in the atmosphere, he attempted to control the horizontal
speed by changing altitude.
No luck, though.
So we floated at 1,000 feet. Suspended over a fast-paced world beneath
us, it felt like I was living life in the slow lane.
And Scobee agreed.
"Up here, it feels more like you're standing still and the earth is
moving below you," he said.
For Scobee, who's been flying hot air balloons for more than 18 years,
the thrill is still there for him. He's flown more than 3,000 passengers
and said he can't wait to fly more.
"I always tell people 'I'll never get rich, but I have an office
with a view,'" he said.
Scobee owns two hot air balloons and flies with Fly Ohio
Ballooning, of  Marysville.
To get a pilot's license, a person has to go through the same process as
an airplane pilot, he said. He or she must have so many hours logged and
must go through a testing procedure.
So I trusted that he'd land us in one piece.
About an hour into the flight, Scobee began looking for an open spot on
the ground below. He discussed possible landing sites with the ground
crew (via an onboard radio) until he came up with a suitable location -
a sidewalk on Greenwood Boulevard.
I glanced down at what appeared to be no more than ten feet of open
space and internally questioned why we couldn't have chosen a field or
someplace with more surface area.
He continued to release some of the hot air from the envelope, causing
the balloon to begin its descent. When we got within about ten feet of
the ground, Scobee looked at me, then the young couple, and said, "This
is gonna be a rough one."
Gulp.
Bumping along the ground, we came to a halt and the ground crew held the
basket down for us to get out. By that point, nearly half of the
neighborhood was crowded around, as if some strange alien spaceship had
invaded their living area.
I hopped out of the basket, proud that I'd survived our one-mile commute.
Scobee then opened the parachute valve all the way so the air could
escape out the top of the balloon. The ground crew grabbed a cord
attached to the top of the balloon and pulled the envelope onto the grass.
Once the balloon envelope was down on the ground, the crew began pushing
the air out. When the balloon was flat, they packed it into a stuff
sack, just as if they were packing up a giant sleeping bag.
As he and his crew packed up the van, I asked Scobee if landing in the
middle of a neighborhood on a sidewalk is normal, or if we had to
perform some emergency landing and he just didn't want to tell me.
The normal procedure for landing a balloon, he said, is to look for an
open area that is free of power lines, livestock, crops or any other
obstacle to a safe landing. The sidewalk was not abnormal. If at all
possible, the pilot will radio ahead to the crew to get permission from
a landowner in advance. If this can't be done the crew will attempt to
find the landowner after landing to let them know what is happening.
Scobee said he's had numerous landowners upset with him landing in their
yard. He's even had people say, "I'm going to call the sheriff on you."
To that he usually replies, "'Please do. The sheriff will just tell me
to get out of here and that's exactly what I'm trying to do anyway,'" he said.
To maintain positive landowner relations, Fly Ohio Ballooning, which
operates mainly out of the Union County Airport, gets the names and
phone numbers of the landowners when they land and puts them in a
drawing for a free balloon ride for two, which is given away each December.
All of the balloons taking part in the All Ohio Balloon Fest will be
included in this program, Scobee said. So, "if a balloon lands on your
property, we appreciate your understanding and if you choose to be in
the drawing, you will be eligible for the free balloon ride for two," he added.
As I walked away that evening of July 19, satisfaction had replaced my
initial anxiety.
For that one hour, it felt as if someone had tapped the brakes on life.
For once, I could actually move with the speed of the atmosphere and not
my calendar.
This year's All Ohio Balloon Fest will take place Friday, Aug. 18 and
Saturday, Aug. 19 at the Union County Airport. Events begin at 6 p.m.
Friday with the hot air balloon launch. Entertainment will be provided
by Hot Rod and the Blues DeVilles from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A balloon glow
will take place at 8:30 p.m., followed by entertainment from Amanda
Overboard from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. A beer garden and concessions will
be open from 6 p.m. to midnight.
Saturday, the hot air balloons will launch at 7 a.m., followed by a YMCA
5K walk/run at 8 a.m. Craft vendors will open at 9 a.m., and Kidz City
will open at 11 a.m. Kite flying will take place at 1 p.m., and there
will be an opportunity to meet the pilots at 4 p.m. The hot air balloons
will then launch again at 6 p.m.
Admission for the weekend is $5. Children 12 and under are free. There
will be free admission from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday night only.

Munk retires from Ohio State Patrol
By CINDY BRAKE
Ohio State Patrol Captain Rick Munk of Marysville retired recently as
executive officer of the Office of Investigative Services. His future
plans, for now, are to spend time with his family.
"Monday is just like another Saturday," Munk said recently as he and his
10 year-old daughter, McKenzie, were busy with her swine project at the
Union County Fair. "No more missed birthday parties ... no more being
called out in the middle of the night" and no more nights of sleeping
one hour at a time.
Because of age and service limitations, Munk officially retired July 21
as the number two guy of the Ohio State Patrol. Retirement is required
after 25 years of service and 48 years of age. Both of which he has passed.
His final days on the job were spent overseeing the state investment
scandal of coin dealer Tom Noe and the execution-style murder of
urologist Gulam Moonda along the Ohio Turnpike. Munk leaves his post
with charges filed in both cases.
Responsible for a staff of more than 150 investigators, troopers and
professional staff, Munk said he was on-call 24 hours a day, seven days
a week for much of his career. His most recent duties were to oversee
statewide criminal investigation functions including vice (drugs and
prostitution on state property), criminal activity in state prisons and
statehouse white collar crime, as well as security at all state properties.
His success, he says, is due to the local community - especially the
Union County sheriff, Marysville police chiefs and the private sector -
who have treated him like family.
Local officials say Munk is a special man.
Marysville Police Chief Floyd Golden, who also retired from the OSP,
said Munk was one of the best investigators he ever worked with in
criminal and traffic investigations.
"He was a good fit in that position," Golden said, explaining how
quickly Munk was able to create good working relationships.
Five years later, when Golden retired as the second Marysville post
commander, Munk was promoted to Marysville post commander where he
served from 1997 to 2001.
"Everytime I look over my shoulder, there's Rick," Golden said.
Union County Sheriff Rocky Nelson also worked with Munk through the
years when both patrolling Union County roads.
"He's genuine ... to him there weren't different color of shirts," Nelson said.
Nelson said Munk is someone he both admires and respects.
Shortly after being named sheriff, Nelson said Munk gave him a wanted
poster of Stanley Penn. Penn killed Union County Sheriff Harry Wolfe in
1982. Munk said he responded to the scene as a trooper that day. "It was
a very tragic day," Munk said.
Nelson said he framed the poster and it now hangs in his office at the
Union County Courthouse complex.
A lot has changed in law enforcement since Munk began working as a
prison guard 28 years ago at the Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus.
Too young, to apply to the state patrol, he said that he thought working
at "a real prison" would test him. What he discovered, as a 19-year-old
fresh out of high school, was that he was up for the challenge. Working
correction was not easy, he said, but it wasn't what he had expected,
explaining that there were a lot of mind games being played.
Munk said good police work involves common sense and people skills.
A year after working at the Ohio Penn, he applied and was accepted as a
cadet with the OSP. After a 4 1/2-month training program, Munk spent his
first two years as a trooper in Springfield. It was a tough six-day
schedule of afternoon and midnight shifts. He first came to Union County
in 1981 as a resident trooper. Before he moved to Marysville, Munk said
he had been through the county only once on his way to Bellefontaine.
Munk said he has no regrets about the career he choose. He is now
looking forward to a time to do something different. He said he has no
immediate plans, except to be with his family which includes wife, Merry
and children, McKenzie, Ricky, Megan, O.J., Drew, Kristyn and Jennafer.

Health Dept. given $48,000 grant

From J-T staff reports:
The Union County Health Department is the recipient of a $48,500 grant
from the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation (TUPCF).
The six-month extension will continue to fund prevention programs and
cessation assistance throughout Union County. The health department will
receive the funds through December.
Local programming supported by the Union County Health Department includes:
.Community cessation classes available to anyone interested in quitting smoking;
.Workplace cessation classes;
.Support group for residents who have quit or tried to quit smoking;
.Community events and publications such as the Great American Smoke Out,
The Smoke-free Honor Roll (recognizing business and organizations that
are smoke-free), and the Smoke-free Dining Guide (a list of all Union
County restaurants that are smoke-free);
.Education resources on the health hazards of secondhand smoke;
"As evidence by the work being done in Union County, Ohio's local
communities have played a key role in the campaign to curb tobacco use
statewide. However, there is still more work to be done," said Sen.
Larry Mumper.  "Therefore, as we work to keep kids from smoking, reduce
adult tobacco use and support Ohio smokers looking to break this awful
habit, it is essential that the state continue to fund local tobacco
control programs."
"If it were not for the support of lawmakers like Sen. Mumper, we would
not be able to continue the programs that impact so many lives in a
positive way," said Sarah Litra, health educator for the Union County
Health Department.  "These funds show the Ohio Legislature's commitment
to reducing the negative impact of tobacco on the health and wealth of
our state. Programs like those in our county have played a significant
role in Ohio's changing culture and the reduction of tobacco use."
Part of Ohio's changing culture and attitude toward tobacco was
reflected in a recent survey done by the Union County Health Department.
Of 301 Union County respondents, only 19 percent reported being a
current smoker. Of the 19 percent who reported being a current smoker,
40 percent indicated they had tried to quit during the past year and 51
percent indicated they are seriously considering quitting within the
next six months. The survey also revealed that 62 percent of the Union
County residents polled would support legislation to make local
restaurants smoke-free.
TUPCF's grants support tobacco use prevention and cessation services in
local communities statewide. The 23 community grants and 20 high-risk
population grants that were extended an additional six months were all
recipients of TUPCF grants in 2003. The total amount of extensions
granted was $3.6 million.
The Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation was created by
the Ohio General Assembly in 2000 and is funded with monies secured from
the national Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between tobacco companies
and 46 states. TUPCF is charged with reducing tobacco use among Ohioans,
with an emphasis on youth, minority and regional populations, pregnant
women and others who may be disproportionately affected by the use of tobacco.
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Best
Practices, TUPCF programs range from the distribution of community
grants and special focus initiatives to Ohio's tobacco use
counter-marketing campaign, stand, and the free Ohio Tobacco Quit Line
(800) QUIT-NOW. For more information on TUPCF and its programs, go to standohio.org.
For more information on local and state tobacco cessation services and
programming, contact Litra at 642-2053.

J.A. voters to decide on levy Tuesday
By CORINNE BIX
 Jonathan Alder school district will be back on the ballot Tuesday with
an emergency 5.9 mills property tax levy for operating costs.
If passed, the temporary levy would take effect for the next five years
and then expire.
The property tax levy comes after two income tax levies were defeated in
February and November.
Levy proponents have posted signs and are wearing buttons with the
number "601" in bold.
Superintendent Doug Carpenter said the significance of the number "601"
is that out of 612 total school districts in Ohio there are only 11
other districts who spend less per pupil than Jonathan Alder.
"We want the taxpayers to understand we wouldn't be 601st in the state
in spending if we hadn't taken good care of their tax dollars,"
Carpenter said. "We spend a little and do a lot."
Carpenter said that if the levy passes Tuesday, Jonathan Alder would
still remain the lowest taxed school district in the central Ohio area.
The decision to go with a property tax came after district voters
defeated the income tax levies.
At the April school board meeting, members agreed that an income tax is
fairer across the board. However, the general consensus was that the
voters had spoken.
Carpenter said that historically the district has fared better at the
polls with a property tax.
If passed the levy will generate $1 million dollars per year for the
district. The cost annually per $100,000 home will be $181.
Presently, in regard to property tax, Jonathan Alder residents pay the
state-required minimum of 20 mills for schools.
The 8.5 mill property tax levy was not renewed in 2005 and no longer
exists. The 8.9 mill bond levy that was passed in 2002 is now collected
at an effective millage rate of 7 mills.
The bond levy was approved four years ago to construct new buildings and
renovate older buildings. The current property tax levy is needed to
keep up with operating expenses of the five district buildings, school officials said.
Carpenter said the district is projected to get no additional funding
for the next two years, from the state budget, except for newly enrolled students.
The district challenges voters who don't - or no longer - have children
in school to think of property values and pensions or retirement benefits.
Property values increase in areas where the school district can offer the most.
Pension systems and retirement benefits are directly tied to the
salaries of young people. In order to ensure a larger group of workers
with the skill set needed to acquire high paying jobs, you have to
provide a quality education, according to Carpenter.
"The educational system in our country is the single biggest reason we
are able to live like we do today, " Carpenter said. "The system was set
up to take care of everybody."
Jonathan Alder prides itself on an excellent academic reputation.
"Test scores are always very good, exceeding state averages, and we want
to be able to keep our fine academic programs," Carpenter said.
If the levy is defeated, the district will begin implementing level one
cuts to include freezing the operating budget by not purchasing new
school buses, textbooks or miscellaneous supplies.
If the property tax levy fails a second time in November, the district
will eliminate high school busing, various extra-curriculars and some staff.
"Anything a school district has that can be reduced we will look at
reducing," Carpenter said.
Carpenter said the need for an increase is inevitable when you consider
the added cost of a fifth district building, the state flatlining
districts' funding in the current year budget, and that the district is
at the state minimum allowed (20 mills) to operate the schools.
"We can't keep doing the same things we used to do without an increase
to operate the school district," he said.

Couple faces 63 counts of child abuse

Indictment describes incidents as torture
By NATALIE TROYER
In a case that involves what court records describe as "torture," a
Springfield man and his wife have each been indicted on more than 30
counts of child abuse involving their five adopted children
A Union County Grand Jury handed down indictments Friday morning against
James E. Ferguson, 46, and Vonda L. Ferguson, 43, for alleged crimes
which reportedly took place in their Marysville home, as well as homes
in Union and Clark counties, between July 24, 2000 and July 24, 2006.
The children, who range in age from 6 to 16, have been removed from the
custody of the Fergusons.
Mr. Ferguson was indicted on 30 counts - all second and third degree
felonies - and Mrs. Ferguson was indicted on 33 counts of the first,
second, and third degrees. Their charges include:
. Five counts of recklessly abusing a child, resulting in physical harm
to the child, a second degree felony.
. Five counts of torturing or cruelly abusing a child, resulting in
serious physical harm to the child, a second degree felony.
. Five counts of administering corporal punishment or other physical
disciplinary measure, or physically restraining the child in a cruel
manner or for a prolonged period, resulting in serious physical harm to
the child, a second degree felony.
. Five counts of repeatedly administering unwarranted discipline that
could seriously impair or retard the child's mental health or
development, resulting in serious physical harm to the child, a second
degree felony.
. Five counts of permitting the child to be abused, tortured,
administered corporal punishment or other physical discipline, or to be
physically restrained in a cruel manner or for a prolonged period,
causing serious physical harm to a child, a felony of the third degree
. Five counts of knowingly causing serious physical harm to another, a
second degree felony.
Mrs. Ferguson is charged with an additional count of knowingly causing
serious physical harm to another, a second degree felony. She is also
charged with two counts of rape, a first-degree felony.
The two rape counts each carry a sentence of three to 10 years and a
$20,000 fine. Each second degree felony carries a sentence of two to
eight years and a $15,000 fine. And each third degree felony carries a
sentence of one to five years and a $10,000 fine.
The couple has not been arrested and were to be notified of the charges
by a summons. An arraignment date is set for Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 11 a.m.
in Union County Common Pleas Court.
According to the Union County Prosecutor's Office, the five children
were removed from the Fergusons' custody in November 2004.

Finding the essence of a man
Local student spends a month in Canadian woods spreading the word of God

By NATALIE TROYER
Ian Rodenberger said he wants to be a different kind of man than society
tells him to be. He wants to be a man of God.
"Society tells us that the typical man is supposed to have sex with as
many women as possible and have a big ego," he said. "But God has a
special plan for men as leaders ... We're to be humble and not live as
the world tells us to, but how God tells us to."
This summer helped the 20-year-old solidify that belief in his mind.
From June 11 through July 13, Rodenberger, of Marysville, lived in North
Bay, Ontario, Canada, as a participant in the Northwoods project.
Sponsored by the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry organization, the
Northwoods project is intended to teach college-age men about the plan
God has for their lives, said Rodenberger, an upcoming junior at
Otterbein College.
The 29 men participating in the summer project lived in campus housing
at Canador College in North Bay. Three days out of the week, the men
worked voluntarily for the community, cleaning up parks and creeks,
painting guardrails and renovating churches. Over the course of the
month, they put in a total of 480 hours of service.
But the main purpose of the summer project was to evangelize, Rodenberger said.
He and the others would have cookouts at a local beach with the intent
to share their beliefs with local people.
"We'd just be grilling out or playing games, and we'd ask people who
walked by to join us," he said.
Rodenberger said he was initially reluctant to share his faith with
complete strangers.
"I didn't want to freak anybody out by just walking up to them and
saying, 'God loves you and He has a plan for your life,'" he said.
But he opened up quickly. And while some rejected his invitation to
talk, others were receptive.
"Many people acknowledged that there is a God, but it was tough to make
them realize that they needed Jesus as their Savior," he said.
Each Thursday through Sunday, the men would go to a local campground or
retreat center for reflection time where they camped and canoed.
Rodenberger said the summer project helped expand his own faith, as well.
"I've learned that I need to step out in my faith as a Christian man,"
he said. "I can't worry about whether or not people are going to like me
... I need to tell people why I'm living the way I am and not just lead by example."
Rodenberger, who graduated from Marysville High School in 2004, raised
more than $2,000 in support from family and friends to offset the $1,800
cost of the project.

Dr. Frank Raymond has delivered his last baby
3,904 bundles of joy

By CINDY BRAKE
After 23 years of welcoming 3,904 babies into the world, Dr. Frank
Raymond has decided to cease that part of his practice and focus on
gynecology and well-woman care.
Raymond was honored Thursday with a reception from noon to 2 p.m. at
Memorial Hospital of Union County's Miracle Life Center.
His work is his mission, according to his staff and family. "Heart to
God, hand to man" has been a guiding principle throughout life. It is
also the Salvation Army's motto.
Raymond taught psychology for five years at Malone College, before his
brother suggested going to medical school and becoming a psychiatrist.
With a wife, 3-month-old infant, used car and U-Haul, Raymond headed to
Chicago for four years of medical school. Then followed a one year
internship at Doctors Hospital in Columbus, a one-year residency in
family practice and four-year residency in OB/GYN.
He credits his wonderful wife, Ruth Ann, for helping him get through
those years and God's providence for bringing him to Marysville. In
those early years, he spent many a night sleeping on a gurney in a
hospital hall because there was no on-call room.
Besides being a generally joyful form of medicine, his OB/GYN practice
offered him the opportunity to care for a patient throughout her
lifetime. In fact, he had begun delivering a second generation of babies
for some families.
Raymond was also the doctor to deliver the first set of triplets since
1966 to be born at Memorial Hospital. They were born in December.
He was waiting at the hospital door for Lori Nicol of Marysville after
she started bleeding 32 weeks into her high-risk pregnancy. Nicol said
it was a relief to see her doctor of 18 years there to help her through
the emergency delivery. Within seven minutes of deciding she needed an
emergency Cesarean section, the first baby entered the world.
"We had the best care," Nicol said.
Nurses who have worked with him over the years, describe Raymond as
"very helpful and meticulous ... always ready to pitch in and help." In
fact, he has been seen mopping the hospital floor when the other staff is busy.
Registered nurse Missy Burns said Raymond often brought a laugh to the
delivery room when a new mother would ask how much her newborn weighed.
Every time, Raymond said 14 pounds and 2 ounces.
Over the years, Raymond has used his training in psychiatry to help some
of his patients through trying times. When patients are open to prayer,
he has been known to pray for comfort and wisdom in their care.
Raymond said he is looking forward to say goodbye forever to the long
weekends of a gynecological practice that typically run from 7 a.m.
Friday to 5 p.m. Monday. He will continue to have a full-time practice,
though, with his brother Norm at Marysville Obstetrics & Gynecology Inc.
in Marysville and Urbana.

Man killed  in crash near Honda

From J-T staff reports:
A crash outside of Honda this morning reportedly took the life of an East Liberty man.
According to Lt. Rick Zwayer of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Marysville
Post, driver Anthony C. Barker, 49, was pronounced dead at the scene
this morning by Union County Coroner Dr. David Applegate. Baker was then
transported to Memorial Hospital of Union County.
Zwayer said the accident occurred as driver Nicole E. Callin, 33, of
Richwood, was headed east on Honda Parkway at the intersection of Honda
of America's Gate B entrance. Barker was reportedly westbound on Honda
Parkway when the two cars collided in the westbound lanes of the intersection.
Callin was injured in the crash and transported by Allen Township medics
to Memorial Hospital of Union County. She was then transported by
medical helicopter to Ohio State University Hospital. An OSU media
representative said information on Callin's condition was not available
at press time, although a report is expected later this morning.
Zwayer said that the crash currently remains under investigation.
"We're still looking at evidence at the scene," he said. "We have talked
with an individual who observed the crash."
Zwayer said that debris in the intersection, along with skid marks on
the pavement, show the crash may have occurred in the intersection. It
appears Callin may have been attempting to turn left into the Gate B
entrance when struck by Barker.
He said investigators are hoping to speak with any other witnesses in
order to gather more information before an official press release is given.

Board works to retain historic uptown charm
By RYAN HORNS
A newly created Historic Uptown Marysville Design Review District could
ensure local landmarks remain intact - preserving the personality and
characteristics of the city's past.
"The vision of revitalizing uptown Marysville began several years ago
and resulted in the huge streetscape project that included new
sidewalks, curbs and lots of brick. That was the beginning of making the
downtown more attractive and inviting," Marysville Design Review Board
chairman Alan Seymour said.
He said what followed was the Planning Commission's creation of new
building design standards and the Design Review Board. More recently,
the Uptown Renewal Team was organized to further enhance and promote the
uptown for businesses. The Design Review process and standards were then
updated and approved by city council to include the Historic District
for architectural review regarding larger renovation projects.
Marysville Zoning Inspector Barbara McCoy said the historic preservation
district was then extended to include more of the uptown area.
According to a map provided by the city Zoning Department, the new
district starts north at the railroad tracks running near Third Street
to North Oak Street, then heads south to Ninth Street. The district also
encompasses the area between Maple Street on the west, to sections of
Cherry Street to the east.
"Adding the Historical District into the Design Review process is
actually a legislative act that will help assure that uptown
architectural enhancements over time will result in an uptown that has
uniform historical appeal consistent with the objectives of the URT,"
Seymour said. "The standards desire that renovation projects use
material types and textures, color, architecture and signage similar to
those used during the period in which the structures were built. It will
encouraged residents who live in the expanded historic district to use
their best efforts to upkeep their homes in ways that are consist with
the period in which they were built."
For future and existing business in the area, McCoy said the Historic
District has created the new "fast track" approval for smaller changes
to make life easier for local business. In the past, some business
owners have complained about the time and expense of making small
changes to their buildings.
McCoy said each instance of proposed changes would come through her
office and in the case of smaller requests, a new "fast track" approval
would be issued through Certificates of Appropriateness. Fast track
approval would mean proposed changes to awnings, signs, and painting on
buildings can move much quicker - as long as the color changes meet
color guidelines established by the Design Review Board. The fast track
approval would also mean having to pay lower fees.
As long as the proposed colors are not outlandish, she said, business
owners should receive fast track approval. The color standards are
currently undetermined, but are expected to be approved soon.
McCoy also explained that the Historic District design standards do not
include single family homes in the area - unless the homes are set to be demolished.
Seymour said that the URT group has brought a renewed enthusiasm toward
restoring the uptown Marysville image and atmosphere.
"It is enjoyable to drive through any well kept downtown. The attractive
ornate period buildings and streetscape gives the feeling of a friendly
and proud community for those passing through," Seymour said.
"Marysville has a very good stock of older period buildings in the
uptown and can create a clean, friendly, proud atmosphere for residents and visitors."
The Design Review Board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday, Aug. 9 at
6:30 p.m. in Marysville City Council chambers at 125 E. Sixth Street. It
will discuss design and color guidelines, along with historical criteria for buildings.

Maple Street bridge closed for repairs
By RYAN HORNS
In a recent announcement by the city of Marysville, the Maple Street
bridge over Mill Creek is closed for repairs.
City Administrator Kathy House reported that structural problems were
discovered on the bridge as city workers began grinding down asphalt as
part of the city's re-paving project. The closure is only expected to
last around two weeks.
"Upon uncovering this pavement, it was found that the structural
stability of the bridge has deteriorated to a point that it is unsafe
for vehicular traffic," House wrote.
Initial reports by the city indicated that the bridge would be closed
for an indefinite period of time, potentially causing traffic problems
with Marysville High School classes resuming on Aug. 21. Wednesday
morning Marysville Assistant Chief Glenn Nicol said that the problems
with the bridge weren't as bad as originally thought. House provided an
update on the issue on Wednesday afternoon.
"The bridge was inspected late yesterday by an ODOT bridge expert and
found it to be structurally sound but in need of significant deck
repairs.  City Street Division crews began the needed repairs
immediately and expect to have them completed in time for the final
repaving to be laid according to schedule," she wrote.
Instead of being barricaded indefinitely, House said, Maple Street will
be closed at the bridge to vehicles until the repaving is completed-
through approximately August 18.
House said Maple Street will only be closed at the bridge for vehicle
traffic. Pedestrians may still use the bridge for walking, but
barricades have been installed on both sides of driving lanes,
preventing through traffic.
"City administration will keep residents informed as these repairs
progress and the bridge can be reopened," House wrote. "We thank
motorists for their patience during this unexpected closing."
House also provided an update on the 2006 Street Repaving Program
already underway. Pavement grinding is continuing on Maple Street, to be
followed by Fairwood Drive and Elm Street through the remainder of this week.
She said on Monday, Aug. 7 grinding will move to Court Street, between
Eighth and Third streets. On Tuesday, Aug. 8 Chestnut Street, from Sixth
to Tenths streets, will be ground. Then East Fourth Street, from Main to
Cherry streets, will follow from Wednesday, Aug. 9 through at least
Friday, Aug. 11. Final paving preparations will follow on each of the
previously ground streets. New asphalt will be applied after the final
preparations are completed.
As a reminder, streets to be paved in addition to those already started
and also those mentioned above are: Bay Laurel Dr. (Millwood Boulevard
to pavement change); Cherry Street (Five Points to Fourth Street);
Linden Street (Seventh to Collins Avenue); Olive Street (Fourth to Fifth
streets); Park Avenue (Fifth Street to concrete); Lee's Place (Third to
Fifth streets); Mary's Place (Third to Fifth streets); Mulberry Street
(Seventh Street to Collins Avenue); Weaver Road (Airport South to city
limits); Third Street (Maple to Main streets).

N.L. utility change prompts concern

By CORINNE BIX
Water rates and tempers are rising in North Lewisburg.
Beginning in January village residents will no longer pay a flat rate of
$55 a month for unlimited water and sewer services. The village will
adopt a new pay schedule based on actual usage by each property owner as
measured by water meters that were installed earlier this summer.
Several citizens attending the meeting expressed concerns over the hike
in water and sewer rates.
Gary Silcott, village engineer with R.D. Zande and Associates, reported
that residents will be charged a $45 base rate per month for water and
sewer. The base rate covers water usage up to 2,000 gallons per month.
The average family of four, according to the EPA web site, uses around
4,500 gallons per month, however based on initial studies the average
family in North Lewisburg is closer to using 6,000 gallons each month.
On the proposed rate schedule this would cost the average family in
North Lewisburg $79 per month for water and sewer.
"Some people are going to pay 50 percent more than what they have been
because they will be paying for what they actually use," Silcott explained.
Silcott explained that the hike in rates is long overdue and only comes
now as a means to eventually retire the 20-year debt of the new water
treatment facility which began construction earlier this summer. The
need for the new plant comes as a result of an accelerated increase of
population in the village over the last 15 years.
"We weren't covering our costs before," Silcott explained.
He said up until now, the village was able to supplement the increased
water treatment costs with income tax and impact/capacity fees collected
on new construction, however now that the new plant is both a reality
and a necessity the rates have to reflect the construction and operating costs.
"It's been too cheap too long," Mayor Dick Willis said.
In other news:
. Susan Woodard reported that the Skate Park Committee continues to
gather estimates on concrete and equipment and is in the process of
starting to gather fund raising ideas.
. Citizens were reminded that no bikes or skateboards are permitted on
the downtown sidewalks per a village ordinance and as indicated by
various signs posted in the downtown area. Warnings will be issued for
first time offenders and citations will be issued on a second offense.
. Pavement of North Sycamore/North Street is to begin Sept. 5.
. Fall Community Yard Sale and Community Activities are Aug. 26.
. Deputy Glenn Kemp gave the Champaign County Sheriff's report for the
month of July. It included six traffic citations, eight warnings issued
for traffic violations, 17 incident reports, 35 cases of assistance
given to citizens, six arrests, eight civil and criminal papers served,
74 follow-up investigations, seven instances of juvenile contact, two
civic activities completed and one auto accident.

'Fiddler' showcases local talent
Editor's note: The following information is submitted by Scott
Underwood, director of the local production.

----
Friday is opening night for Marysville Summer Theatre's production of
"Fiddler on the Roof" at the Union County Veterans Memorial Auditorium.
 The musical story of a small Jewish village in the Russian Ukraine during
the time of the Tzars will be staged by more than 75 actors, dancers and
musicians. Performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 5
and 6, and Aug. 10, 11 and 12.
Dan McKean of Milford Center stars as Tevye, the Jewish milkman who
attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while adapting to new pressures.
He shares the stage with Marysville High School music teachers Katie
Paulson as Tevye's eldest daughter, Tzeitel, and Jeremy Alfera, as Perchik, the student from Kiev.
Tevye's two other strong-willed daughters, Hodel and Chava, played by
Grace and Mallory Underwood, each select their own husband, contrary to tradition.
The village matchmaker, Yente, portrayed by Abby Wight, complicates Tevye's frustration.
The musical opens with a lone fiddler, played by Seth Franke, standing on a roof playing a
tune, as Tevye tells the audience about the customs of his people and about how they have
lived all their lives in Anatevka.
He equates life in Anatevka with being a "fiddler on the roof," trying to scratch out a simple,
pleasant tune without breaking his neck.
"How do we keep our balance?" he asks. "That I can tell you in one word: Tradition!"
Motel the tailor is portrayed by Patrick Walters of Columbus, who has participated in
numerous central Ohio and regional venues, including Columbus Children's Theatre and
at the Palace Theatre in Columbus for Pleasure Guild of Children's Hospital.
He is joined on staged by Evan Zimmerman, as Fyedka, who recently starred at the
Columbus Palace Theatre in "Honk!" Rounding out the cast of strong vocalists includes
Karla Chapman Poling as Golde, Tevye's wife, who portrayed Miss Hannigan in "Annie"
and Nancy in "Oliver" on the local stage in past seasons; Vallen Boblitt as Lazar Wolf;
Don Wight as Mordcha, the Innkeeper; Molly Rossetti as Fruma Sarah, Lazar's dead
wife; and the real life father and son team of Brian and Chris Murray asthe Rabbi
and his son, Mendel.
""Fiddler on the Roof" opened on Broadway in 1964 and was written by Jerry Bock
and Sheldon Harnick.
Directed by Scott Underwood and accompanied on the piano by Grant Underwood,
the pit orchestra includes accomplished musicians from the local and surrounding area.
Tickets are available at Creative Traveline, 106 N. Court St., 644-8188,
or by calling 645-JAXS. All seats are reserved.

Fire service split still on the table
By CORINNE BIX
The future of fire and emergency services is up for debate in the village of North Lewisburg.
North Lewisburg participates along with Woodstock, Rush Township and Wayne Township
in the NECCFD. Two representatives from each participating community sit on the fire board.
There have been many discussions over the past several years between village officials and the
fire board about housing the ever growing fire department.
NECCFD currently operates out of the village municipal building and pays rent on 5,286 square
feet of space. The village voted in April to more than double the NECCFD's annual rent from
$6,000 to $12,500 retroactive to Jan. 1 when the last contract expired.
Council also voted to gradually increase the annual rent to $25,000 by 2008 which averages out
to $5 per square foot of space used.
It was suggested in June by Steve Wilson, village council president, and Curtis Burton, village
council vice-president, that the two village representatives on the fire board be voted on by the council.
Currently, as in the case of internal committees, the village mayor selects who represents the
village on fire board. Presently, Mayor
Willis and Barry First, village administrator, are the village representatives.
Last month, the village passed a motion by a four to two vote to allow the mayor to appoint
a six to 10 member committee to study the concept of creating a village-only division of fire
and emergency medical service. Wilson and Burton were the two no votes Mayor Willis
reassured residents that the village is only conducting a study to gather information and no
normal plans to break from the NECCFD have been discussed.
Last night, various citizens expressed concern that personal issues between fire board
members and village representatives have clouded the judgment of all parties involved.
Many citizens asked that everyone come to an amicable agreement.
First reported that the next step will be to bring in mediators to settle the never-ending
debate. Nick Selvaggio, Champaign County prosecutor, and Harley Davidson, village
legal counsel will be the two mediators.
"We feel it's the consensus of administration and all of council that mediation will be the
glue that brings us back together," First said.
First and Willis said they are in favor of the mediation process and will honor the
recommendation by Selvaggio and Davidson.
Chief Dave Spain, NECCFD, said that the fire district is encouraged that the mediation
will bring harmony between the two groups.
"I welcome the mediation and we would very much like to see everything work out
between the NECCFD and the village," Spain said.

Ride for Kids raises $104,000
From J-T staff reports:
More than 400 motorcyclists, fundraisers and patient families gathered
for the 15th annual Marysville Ride for Kids on Saturday. The group
raised $104,134 for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation's research and
family support programs.
The police-escorted motorcycle ride left from the Honda of America
Manufacturing plant, where the annual Honda Homecoming was taking place.
The route went through rural Union, Logan and Shelby counties.
When the motorcyclists returned to the Honda plant, they were treated to
a marvelous Celebration of Life program starring five local brain tumor
survivors - Erin, 6, Seth and Jenna, 7, Jason, 12, and Matt, 18.
"We're glad to be here and we will keep coming back until there is a
cure," said Seth's dad, Todd.
Dr. Amanda Termuhlen, associate chief of pediatric oncology at Columbus
Children's Hospital, told the crowd how important their fundraising
efforts are to her research into brain tumors.
"We've all heard the child in the backseat asking 'are we there yet?'
Well, we're not there, but we are getting closer," she said.
Top individual fundraiser honors went to Kathy and Sam Straughn of
Ashland, Va., who raised $9,025. The top club, GWRRA Ohio Chapter B2,
brought in $24,426, and the customers of Marysville Honda raised $22,088
to make it the top motorcycle business. Beverly Campbell of Harrod,
Ohio, won the grand prize, a brand-new Honda motorcycle.
Special acknowledgement went to Marysville Ride for Kids task force
leaders Altrece Hogans and LouAnn McKeen, visitation leader Ken Denman,
the task force members and day-of-event volunteers, for hosting a terrific event.
Since 1984, the national Ride for Kids program and PBTF have promoted
childhood brain tumor research and provided family support through free
literature about brain tumors, educational newsletters, online
conferences and college scholarships. With the help of America's
motorcyclists and motorcycle dealers, PBTF has become the world's
largest non-governmental source of funding for pediatric brain tumor research.
The next PBTF Ride for Kids events are Sunday, Aug. 6 in Madison, Wis.,
and Central Valley, N.Y. For more information about Ride for Kids, those
interested may go to www.rideforkids.org or call 800-253-6530.

Balloon Festival to be featured on Country Living cover
From J-T staff reports:
Marysville's All Ohio Balloon Fest will be front and center this week
across the State of Ohio.
Country Living, the official publication of Ohio's Rural Electric
Cooperatives, features a cover photo of the Touchstone Energy balloon
during its 2005 visit to Marysville. Inside the cover, the event is
announced to the public. The magazine will be delivered to households
and businesses this week.
"This is a great opportunity to show off the Balloon Fest to the rest of
the state," Union Rural Electric spokesperson Eileen Tuttle said. "We
want people from all over Ohio to come to Marysville for the event."
Country Living has a paid circulation of 283,000 across the state. It is
Ohio's largest rural monthly publication. It is also the primary
communication link between Union Rural Electric members and their
cooperative.
Union Rural Electric, a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, is the lead
sponsor of the August All Ohio Balloon Fest. This is the cooperative's
third major sponsorship of the event, organized this year for the first
time by the Marysville Journal-Tribune.
"The tradition of the Balloon Fest is something we want to see
continue," Tuttle said. "It's an important part of the image of our city
and the quality of life in our community."

 

 

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